Lives of the fellows

David Lurie

b.1 December 1916 d.4 March 1984
MB ChB Cape Town(1938) MRCP Lond(1948) FRCP(1979)

David Lurie was born in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and died suddenly in Johannesburg. He was educated at Stellenbosch Boy’s High School and matriculated with distinction in 1932. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Cape Town in 1938, being awarded gold medals in physiology and public health. In 1939 he became an intern at Addington Hospital, Durban.

During the war years 1940-43 he saw active service in North Africa and Egypt, particularly in Sidi Rezek and Tobruk. He was one of the youngest majors in the South African medical services. He had a particularly good talent for telling stories, and he told of his war experiences with a simplicity, yet with a clarity, that made the whole era seem alive and terrible.

On returning from North Africa, he was in charge of the chest unit at Baragwanath British Military Hospital from 1943-46. He then spent two years in London, obtaining his membership of the College in 1948. He returned to South Africa and settled in Johannesburg where he had an illustrious and extremely distinguished career as a specialist physician for the next 36 years. He was consultant physician to the South African Airways and Railways and will always be remembered with great awe by numerous friends and patients in this sector. He was also consultant physician to the Pneumoconiosis Medical Bureau, and the Department of Mines and Mines Benefit Society. He was a part-time physician at the University of Witwatersrand from 1949 onwards. Among other things, this involved teaching most of the medical students and registrars and they enjoyed his quaint sense of humour. He was a founder member of the South African College of Physicians in 1953 (now the College of Medicine) and was elected a Fellow of the RCP in 1979. He was extremely active in medical practice until the day he died.

David belonged to that rare breed of doctors, the ‘old-time’ physician; unfortunately this type of doctor is becoming extinct. His sense of humour was energizing and he had an infectious laugh that was wonderful company, but his understanding of the human psychology and the complexities of human relationships must have been his greatest gift. His observation of people was magnificent, and because of this he never ministered to the symptom only but in every sense to the person as a unique being.

He married Ethne Cohen in 1946 and they had a son and two daughters. Virtually all his children, and their spouses, have followed his proud example in the medical profession.

He had a great love for sports and, although he was no great sportsman, he was always the centre of attraction on the golf course every weekend. He also played tennis, and jogged for fun for at least 40 years; that was how he died, quite suddenly, while running on the track, aged 67.

AP Goldman

(Volume VIII, page 292)

<< Back to List