Frederick Eustace Batten (1865-1918)
Dr Batten was born in Plymouth, the third son of a barrister, and the grandson of a surgeon. He was educated at Westminster School before going to Trinity College, Cambridge. He studied medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and was appointed house surgeon there in 1891. He also worked in Berlin for a while. Frederick Batten’s enduring fame is associated with The National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, and with Great Ormond Street. At both institutions, he worked for many years, dealing mainly with diseases of the nervous system, and publishing important works on these. In 1913, he was joint editor (with two other Great Ormond Street doctors, Garrod and Thursfield) of the textbook Diseases of Children. He was described in Monk’s Rolls as a ‘first-rate’ children’s physician, displaying inventive talent, and his premature death (following an appendectomy), was a great loss to the world of paediatrics.
Dr Poynton remembered him with great vividness;
“Dr. F. E. Batten. Came from St.Barts. with the characteristic “aura”, but a most pleasant man. Medium height, thin, alert face with receding hair, Med. Registrar before Still. Fine worker. When on the staff he did fine work on infantile paralysis. I was his junior Physician. His death was a tragedy, he rang me up to say that he was going to have an operation and to look after his ward (Annie Zunz). I went to see him at the Nursing Home, to be told he had died of haemorrhage after the operation! His Ward Sister died some months after him from Influenza. He was a sad loss to us, for he was the youngest of the Senior Physicians, cut off in his prime. His notes on cases were a model of thoroughness, and many of them never were used by him for his life work on children”.