b.11 November 1903 d.12 March 1996
MB ChB Bristol(1926) MD(1928) MRCP(1928) FRCP(1936)
As Bristol University’s first full time professor of medicine, Bruce Perry’s main clinical and research work focused on acute rheumatic fever and chronic heart disease. A Bristol man through and through, Perry was born and educated in the city and graduated from the University in 1926. A protégé of Carey Coombs [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.551], he went on to carry out pioneering work with him on myocardial infarction.
In 1935, at the age of just 31, he was appointed to the professorship of clinical medicine, a post he was to hold for 33 years. He organized and supervised a large in-patient unit at Winford Hospital for children with acute rheumatism. He was also instrumental in making rheumatic fever a notifiable disease in Bristol, so he could know of every new case. With large units in the Infirmary, the Children’s Hospital and Southmead Hospital he was able to follow all his patients into adult life, through pregnancy and later to surgical treatment. He wrote numerous papers on the subject of salicilates in treatment and later the crucial role of penicillin in the acute phase and its prophylactic value thereafter.
In the post war years his role in the enlargement of the Bristol Medical School was pivotal. He served as dean and later vice-chancellor to the University. He was elected an honorary fellow in 1986 and a new hall of residence was named after him.
At the College he was Bradshaw lecturer in 1944 and Lumleian in 1969. In addition he served as examiner, censor and councillor. He was a founder member of the British Cardiac Club and in 1961 chaired the Association of Physicians and the British Cardiac Society.
Perry was fascinated by local history and, with a small band of Bristol physicians, he founded the Jenner Trust to establish a museum to perpetuate the memory of Edward Jenner at Berkeley. Working tirelessly at this venture after his retirement and with a generous grant from a Japanese shipping magnet, the trust was able to purchase Jenner’s old house where a splendid museum now flourishes.
He married Jo Harvey in 1929 and they had three daughters.
D W Barritt
[Brit.med.J., 1996,313,108; The Independent, 23 Mar 1996; The Times, 30 Mar 1996]
(Volume X, page 384)
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