Lives of the fellows

David Clark Muir

b.15 March 1898 d.28 November 1983
MRCS LRCP(1922) MB BS Lond(1923) MRCP(1925) FRCP(1935)

David Clark Muir was the son of a family physician in Wales. He attended Llandovery School where he developed a life long interest in the classics, particularly in Greek, and also in rugby football, a sport at which he was highly successful despite his small physical stature. Two of his brothers became physicians and David followed a tradition in a family which has produced physicians and surgeons in successive generations. He chose the Middlesex Hospital in London and completed his first year before leaving to join the other young men of that period in the trenches of Flanders. He spent two years as a rifleman in the Rifle Brigade but was sent back to complete his medical studies when the need for doctors became an overriding priority. He duly qualified MRCS LRCP in 1922, obtaining the MB BS in 1922 and in 1925 proceeded to MD and gained the MRCP. He was elected FRCP in 1935. He was appointed medical registrar at the Middlesex and established lasting friendships with the post war group of physicians qualifying at that time. He also worked for a period at St Johns Hospital for Diseases of the Skin.

In 1927 he was appointed honorary physician to Hull Royal Infirmary and moved to East Yorkshire with his wife Anne. He was a first rate clinician and teacher. He had little opportunity for research but had an intense interest in the individual patient and his opinion was widely sought. He had particular skill in cardiology and, with J Brown from Grimsby, established a clinic in Hull which developed into a referral centre for congenital heart disease. He became a member of the Cardiac Society and it was a matter of great pleasure and pride to him when members of that Society held one of their meetings in Hull and visited the clinic.

His practice was interrupted by a further period of war service in 1939. He served for three years as a lieutenant colonel in charge of a medical division in the Middle East. After the war he resumed his consulting practice in Hull. He was appointed a member of the regional hospital board and spent much time on the board; working during the introduction of the NHS. He foresaw all too well many of the structural problems in the proposed medical staffing system, the employment difficulties that would face the trained specialists and the particular difficulties of the non-teaching hospitals. It was a matter of great and lasting regret to him that he was not able to influence the system so that these could be avoided.

He made great efforts to encourage the careers of house physicians and registrars who worked with him over the years and he was always pleased to learn of their progress. His own preoccupation with a busy clinical practice left him little time to develop outside interests and retirement placed a great strain on him. He had suffered from diabetes mellitus for many years and his increasingly poor health caused him great distress. He died at the age of 85, within a few months of the death of his wife.

He was survived by a daughter and two sons, one of whom is a physician and fellow of the College.

DCF Muir

[Brit.med.J., 1984, 288, 80]

(Volume VII, page 416)

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