General Internal Medicine
Designatory Letters: 
BSc Edin 1966, MB Edin 1969, MD Edin 1980, FRCP Edin 1984, FRCPS Glas 1985

[Contributed by Niall Finlayson]

John Arthur Hunter Forrest was born in Dumfries in 1943 and was educated at St Joseph’s College in Dumfries. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and qualified B.Sc. (Honours in Pharmacology) in 1966 and M.B., Ch.B in 1969. His general medical training was primarily in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and, after gaining special experience in Toxicology, he developed his main specialist interest in Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, becoming the first Senior Registrar in that specialty in Lothian in 1975 and working at the Royal Infirmary and the Western General Hospital. He was appointed Consultant Physician in General Medicine and in Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases in Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, in 1982 and retired from that post in 2005.

John was a man of unquestioned integrity and a physician of the first rank who combined an enquiring intellect with a friendly and approachable personality. His intellect, his personal clinical practice, his knowledge of the medical literature, his research, and an orderly approach to his work ensured the high quality of his clinical experience. His research reflected his interest in gastrointestinal and liver disease, and in drugs and their use, abuse and metabolism, especially in liver disease. He published some 40 papers in the course of his career. His qualities benefited his patients but also his junior colleagues, for he had a keen interest in teaching. John also contributed to the wider activities of our profession. He was a strong supporter of this College. As a Collegiate Member, he was an active member of the Collegiate Members Committee for four years, including spells as its Chairman and its Secretary. As a Fellow, his main contribution was to the MRCP(UK) examination. He was a member of the Clinical Examination Board and the MRCP(UK) Question Groups, and his work as a clinical examiner in the PACES exam in the UK and Overseas continued after he retired. He was also a member of the British Society of Gastroenterology and of the Scottish Society of Gastroenterology, of which he was the Secretary when it was known as the Caledonian Gastroenterology Society.

John had several interests outside medicine. His family was his major interest, and at home he was hospitable, a very good cook and an enthusiastic gardener. He loved sport and was an excellent golfer. When John retired, he and his wife Helen, also a doctor, moved to Longniddry, near Edinburgh, renovated their house extensively and established a lovely garden. They also had a holiday home in Provence, which they enjoyed greatly. He was in France when his final illness started and he bore that illness, which took him from us far too soon, with courage and dignity. Fortunately, he survived to enjoy a memorable ruby wedding celebration. John was a good, kind, thoughtful man as well as an excellent physician, and none of us who knew him will forget him. He is survived by his wife Helen, by Nicola, her husband and their three children (the youngest born just weeks before John died), and by John junior and his wife.