Lives of the fellows

Eric Sanders

b.25 April 1916 d.21 March 1987
MRCS LRCP(1939) MB BS Lond(1940) MRCP(1949) MD(1949) FRCP(1977)

Eric Sanders was born Eric Schlesinger, in Berlin, the son of a prominent Jewish banker. His family came to England as refugees from Nazi Germany, and he secured his British nationality in the name of ‘Sanders’ in 1940, the year he graduated in medicine from the Middlesex Hospital, University of London. After house appointments in the Middlesex sector of the EMS, he enlisted in the RAF and served as a medical officer in the UK and the Middle East. After demobilization in 1946 he obtained his doctorate in medicine and his membership of the College.

Following medical registrar posts at St Stephen’s Hospital and Hillingdon Hospital he began specialization in chest diseases as senior registrar at Bevenden Hospital, Brighton, and in 1953 as chest physician to St Helier Hospital and Merton Chest Clinic. He continued to serve in this post, being upgraded to consultant in thoracic medicine in 1963, until he retired.

The writer worked alongside Eric Sanders for some 24 years and came to respect and appreciate his integrity as a compassionate physician, who was always concerned for the personal and social problems of his patients. In spite of his considerable ability and wisdom as a clinician, he was a man without ambition and the manoeuverings and pragmatic judgements of medical politics were anathema to him. He never forgot a friendly act, and both in his professional and private life he never criticized anyone unkindly. He was a man truly without a trace of malice. Although an active participator in cooperative research projects, he was not a good initiator. He was, above all, a shining example of ‘the good and caring doctor’.

Eric never married, but had a wide circle of friends, and in his private life was sustained by his deep love of classical music and, in particular, grand opera. He was a Friend of Covent Garden from its inception. Despite the trauma of his childhood in Germany, he remained a devout Wagnerian. For many years he was an active member of Kingston Cycling Club, and he missed the company and the camaraderie when the long club outings became too much for him, but he still enioyed the Veterans’ Run.

After his retirement, activity became more restricted by the onset of angina and he died from a coronary thrombosis on the day he was to enter hospital for surgical assessment. He was survived by his sister, Susie.

HF Harwood

(Volume VIII, page 430)

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