Dr William Jopling

Dr Jopling (1911-1997) was the Director of Jordan Hospital from 1950 to 1967. The archivist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has kindly provided the following biographical notes:

William Jopling was born in Italy and graduated from London University (St. Bartholomew’s Hospital) in 1936 and studied medicine and obstetrics, as an intern, ending as a ship doctor travelling to Far East. Later in 1938, he went to Hartley, South Rhodesia, (now Zimbabwe), Africa with his wife, and chiefly engaged in medicine and obstetrics. During World War Two, he went into the volunteer Medical Corps. In August 1947 he returned to London with his family at age 36 and he took postgraduate studies specializing in tropical medicine. After the war, some Hansen’s disease patients came from other countries, and he took the new post of the director of Jordan Hospital specialising in leprosy.

Together with DS Ridley, he established the Ridley-Jopling classification of leprosy, which is the standard of classification, although WHO added a simple classification of multibacillary leprosy and paucibacillary leprosy for practical reasons. He was interested not only in the classification, but also in leprosy reactions, and he finally found the designator of Erythema Nodosum Leprosum, asking any visitors to his hospital. He had remained Consultant in Tropical Medicine at St. John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin until his retirement. He participated in a multidrug therapy trial in Malta.

Both Jopling and Ridley were awarded the Sir Rickard Christopher’s medal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1994.

There is also a Wikipedia article on Dr Jopling.