Lives of the fellows

Leon Horwich

b.29 July 1924 d.4 February 1977
MB BCh Liverp(1953) MRCP(1963) MD(1966) FRCP(1974)

Leon Horwich was born at Southport, Lancashire, the son of Isaac Horwich, a master tailor, and Amelia, daughter of Leon Fincklestein. He was educated at King George V School, Southport, and Liverpool University. During the second world war he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, joining as a private in 1943 and rising to the rank of sergeant by the time of his discharge in 1947. He then entered Liverpool University Medical School where he qualified in 1953.

After a series of resident and registrar appointments at various Merseyside hospitals, he was appointed Nuffield research assistant at the department of medicine, University of Liverpool. Two years later, in 1966, he was appointed physician superintendent at Whiston Hospital but in 1972, with the changed administration, was designated consultant physician to Whiston and St Helen’s Hospitals. He became the first chairman of the medical executive committee of St Helen’s and Knowsley Area Health Authority, an appointment he held until June 1976.

As a general physician with special interests in neurology and gastroenterology, Leon Horwich contributed notably in the decade he spent at the two large hospitals with which he was chiefly associated. His attributes of gentle patient care, well recognized diagnostic acumen, and unobtrusive hard work made him a valuable and trusted colleague.

In 1965 he pioneered studies in the use of carbenoxolone (Biogastrone) in the treatment of gastric ulceration, and his publications became widely quoted internationally. He contributed original articles on the use of chloroquin in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the influence of ABO blood groups in duodenal ulceration, and studies in peripheral nerve conduction in disease, and many other publications in scientific journals. In his role as hospital administrator he commanded general respect and admiration for his tactful and effective approach to many inevitably perplexing problems.

In the last few months of his life he bore his distressing illness with great fortitude. At the height of his troubles he was able to tell a friend that two things in particular had been revealed to him — that he was able to endure pain, and that he had learnt with apparent surprise that he was held in such devotion by so many friends and relatives. It was indicative of his general lack of pomp and circumstance.

N Bennett-Jones
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

[Brit.med.J., 1977, 1, 719]

(Volume VII, page 277)

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