Lives of the fellows

Eric Nevil Glick

b.28 February 1928 d.3 July 1990
MB BCh Leeds(1951) MRCP(1959) DPhysMed(1961)FRCP(1977)

Appropriately for a son of Leeds, Eric Glick’s father Jacob was a clothing manufacturer and his mother was the daughter of a cloth merchant. Scholarships to Roundhay School and Leeds University helped him follow two uncles into medicine, one of whom was a Fellow of the College, Louis Glick (q.v.). After graduating with honours in 1951 he held junior posts as a house physician at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, and as a house surgeon at Bradford Royal Infirmary. During his student years his main interest outside his profession was in youth work; he was a group leader and then became district head, and national council member of the Jewish religious youth movement, Bnei Akiva. In later years he continued to support the movement as a ‘friend’. He was also active on several educational and cultural committees.

After completing his National Service he returned to Leeds as senior house officer at Killingbeck Chest Hospital and then moved on to be medical registrar at Hull Royal Infirmary. He was attracted by the emerging specialty of rheumatology and, after registrarships at the Royal Northern and Highlands hospitals, London, - and later at the London Hospital - he became senior registrar at the London and at Chase Farm Hospital. In 1965 he was appointed consultant in rheumatology and physical medicine to the East London Group of Hospitals. Subsequent NHS reorganization led to redistribution of his work; he retained his links with the London Hospital but as his hospitals became part of the St Bartholomew’s teaching group he was appointed honorary lecturer in medicine in recognition of his participation in the rheumatology teaching of their medical students. As hospitals in central London closed, he gradually moved his sessions to Enfield in north London, establishing his base at Chase Farm Hospital.

He kept up his involvement in clinical research despite having to divide his time between several hospitals and without the benefit of dedicated junior staff or a proper unit. The relation between mechanical factors and arthritis intrigued him. He wrote several papers; one paper sought correlation between hand dominance and the severity of rheumatoid arthritis in the two wrists, and another reported how rheumatoid arthritis developing in patients previously paralysed by poliomyelitis spared the paralysed limbs. He was one of the first to describe in English medical literature the specific x-ray features of hip joint involvement in rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis as well as the clinical features. Later his main interest lay in reflex sympathetic dystrophy, or algodystrophy - the name he popularized in the UK. He lectured on the subject and tried to heighten medical awareness of the condition and its management. He was frequently consulted by colleagues who had patients with this condition, wrote several papers on the disorder, and contributed an appropriate chapter to an authoritative book The Foot, by B Helal and D Wilson, London & Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 1988.

Eric Glick took his administrative responsibilities seriously and played an active part in the committees of all the hospitals with which he was associated. He was repeatedly dismayed and frustrated by the NHS economizing on services and frequently urged more aggressive action by his colleagues. He was elected president of the Enfield division of the BMA and served as the division’s representative at several annual representative meetings. He was also treasurer of the North East Thames regional committee for hospital medical services.

His National Service years in the RAF had been served in the Middle East and whetted his appetite for foreign lands. Thereafter, whenever the opportunity arose, he would combine his interest in medicine with travel and use his leave to attend medical conferences abroad - after which he would visit local sites of cultural, artistic and archeological importance. As a rheumatologist, he was very interested in the physical - as well as medicinal - therapy of musculo-skeletal diseases; he watched acupuncture in China, Ayurvedic medicine in India, and visited many spas including Abano, Piestany and Tiberias.

He married Marjorie Saville in 1961, an honours graduate in history, and they had one daughter - Emma - who eschewed medicine but became a keen biologist. Marjorie regularly accompanied him on his attendances at congresses and gave him valuable assistance in the preparation of his lectures and papers.

E N Glick

(Volume IX, page 198)

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