Lives of the fellows

Michael George Moshal

b.23 October 1935 d.14 October 1981
BSc Capetown(1956) MB ChB(1960) FCP SA(1966) MRFP Lond(1967) FRCP(1979)

Michael George Moshal was born in Durban, South Africa, the son of Bernard Moshal, also a physician and a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London. Michael was educated at Durban High School and the University of Capetown, qualifying in 1960. He entered the Groote Schuur Hospital, Capetown, for postgraduate training in medicine and gastroenterology, and held house appointments from 1961 to 1967. He was awarded the Cecil John Adams travelling fellowship in 1967 and spent a period at Hammersmith Hospital, London. From 1968 to 1969 he was a fellow in gastroenterology at the Mallory and Thorndike Institute, Harvard Medical School and Boston City Hospital, USA, and on his return to Durban in 1969 he established a gastrointestinal unit, which soon achieved national and international status on account of its research.

Michael Moshal published over 130 papers and attended numerous congresses in South Africa, Europe and the Americas. From 1977 to 1981 he was president of the South African Gastroenterology Society and was later made life president. He was appointed professor and director of the Research Institute for Diseases in a Tropical Environment, South African Medical Research Council, Durban, an institute which deals mainly with research into amoebiasis, schistosomiasis and malaria. He was also appointed director of the South African Medical Research Group for duodenal ulceration.

Michael was active in local medical politics and took part in the fight against discrimination on a racial basis in relation to doctors’ salaries. He was a member of the Natal Coast Branch of the Medical Association of South Africa.

He married Denise Margaret, daughter of Abraham Kaplan, an attorney, in 1960. They had four sons. Michael was a sincere, forthright man, with an obsession for work, having few interests outside his profession and his family, being dedicated to research. He accomplished a great deal within a very short period and his workaholic behaviour made one wonder whether he perhaps felt that his stay on earth was short, and that he had to complete his work within a given time. He took a great interest in the underprivileged population and never practised racial discrimination. The large multiracial crowd which attended his funeral was a testimony to the many friends he had. Throughout his brief life he showed great fortitude, and never more so than in his fight against his incurable illness.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
Valérie Luniewska

[Lancet, 1981, 2, 1060]

(Volume VII, page 415)

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