Lives of the fellows

Basil Kazen Ellenbogen

b.22 December 1917 d.21 February 1996
MB ChB Liverp(1941) MRCS LRCP(1941) MD(1948) MRCP(1948) FRCP(1971)

Basil Ellenbogen was born in Liverpool and spent much of his career as a consultant physician working in and around the city. His father was Max Kazen Ellenbogen, a general merchant, and his mother was Gertrude Hamburg. He was educated at the Liverpool Collegiate School and went on to study at Liverpool University, graduating in 1941.

Following house officer posts in Chester and North Staffordshire he served in the RAMC from 1942 to 1946, reaching the rank of captain. He served as a general duties officer and as a regimental medical officer. He landed in France in July 1944 and took part in the campaign in Europe, serving in France, Belgium and Germany. Immediately after the war he volunteered to work in concentration camps. His experience trying to alleviate the suffering of the inmates at Belsen left a lifelong impression on him.

He returned to England and held various registrar posts in Liverpool and Birkenhead. In 1956 he became a consultant physician at St Catherine’s Hospital, Birkenhead, and Victoria Central Hospital, Wallasey. He was later appointed to a post at the new Arrowe Park Hospital. His work covered general medicine and geriatrics and he was instrumental in setting up geriatric departments in Birkenhead and Wallasey, leading to a major improvement in the care of the elderly in the area.

Basil played no major part in local academic or political activities. He was primarily a clinician, but wrote papers on Parkinson’s disease, psittacosis, and subarachnoid haemorrhage in the elderly. His major academic contribution was a popular student book, A therapeutic index: a guide for housemen and practitioners, London, Bailliere, Tindall and Cox, 1955, which he wrote with C M Miller. He was an excellent lecturer and his postgraduate lectures were much appreciated by local general practitioners. He was also a noted Hebrew scholar.

He served on the library committee of the Liverpool Medical Institution, was a member of the British Geriatric Society and president of the Wallasey Medical Society. He was a lecturer in medicine at the Liverpool School of Occupational Therapy and examiner to the General Nursing Council of England and Wales. His voluntary work included acting as honorary physician to the Stapely Nursing Home and as a governor of Granby Street Schools.

He married Marianne in 1946 and they had two children. They met in Germany where Marianne, the sole survivor of her family, had spent the war hidden by a non-Jewish German family.

Outside medicine his interests included foreign travel, photography, swimming and golf. His latter years were marred by diabetes and its complications.

Ronald Finn

[Brit.med.J., 1996,312,971]

(Volume X, page 130)

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