John Frederick Winnicott attempted to persuade his son to enter the family business, but Donald Woods Winnicott had already begun to manifest that healthy sense of independence which would become so apparent in his later negotiations within the British psychoanalytic community. As a medical trainee, he received a special exemption from military service in order to pursue his studies, but many of his friends enlisted for active duty and subsequently died in combat. Perhaps the particular values influenced Winnicott to enter the psychotherapeutic field rather than one of the more research-orientated branches of medicine such as bacteriology, endocrinology, or microbiology. Winnicott's predilection for the writings of Henry James, in particular, proved unwittingly fortuitous, because decades later, he would come to treat a very fragile woman who devoured the works of James "voraciously". At one point during his medical training, Winnicott developed an abscess on his lung, necessitating that he spend three months as a patient in hospital.