Lives of the fellows

Norman Kletts

b.27 July 1895 d.14 October 1955
MB ChB Manch(1917) MRCP(1921) FRCP(1944)

Norman Kletts, who was known as Kletz until 1943, was a brilliant student and an outstanding teacher, with a logical and judicial approach to clinical problems and a remarkable command of words which enabled him to state clear, incisive views to his undergraduate and post-graduate students. Unfortunately his awkward prejudices, expressed in equally forcible terms, brought him few friends among his colleagues. The cause no doubt lay in his illness and his drive to counteract its effects, for he suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis for which he had no treatment until it became manifest when he was already fifty. He made only a slow recovery after thoracoplasty; it was three years before he returned to the teaching which gave him the most enjoyable part of a busy professional life.

The son of Louis Kletz, a manufacturer, of Kersal, Salford, he entered Manchester Medical School from the local Grammar School with the Seaton classical scholarship, gaining the Dauntsey medical and Tom Jones anatomy scholarships, and qualifying in 1917 with the Bradley surgical scholarship and the Dumville surgical prize. Because the country was at war he gained extra experience as an undergraduate house man in 1915-16. He was house physician at the Royal Infirmary before serving for two years in France, Belgium and Germany with the R.A.M.C.

On his return he spent six years in post-graduate work which equipped him for appointments to Stockport Infirmary and the Park Hospital, Davyhulme, as honorary physician and pathologist. In 1934 he became honorary assistant physician to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he was consultant physician from 1949 until his death in 1955. For his last twenty years he was lecturer in medicine at the University. After his illness he retired from private practice and acted as adviser in medicine to the Manchester Regional Hospital Board, helping to build up an excellent group of consulting physicians.

He married in 1925 Ida Evelyn, daughter of Richard Risk, a manufacturer, of Urmston. They had two daughters. The tragic death of one of them in a road accident hindered his recovery from his trying illness.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1955, 2, 1201; Lancet, 1955, 2, 930; Yorkshire Evening Post, 20 Oct. 1955.]

(Volume V, page 233)

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