Lives of the fellows

Velva Schrire

b.24 December 1916 d.16 February 1972
MB ChB Cape Town(1941) MRCP(1950) MRCPE(1950) FRCPE(1960) FRCP(1962)

Velva Schrire had a brilliant career. In 1933 he matriculated the best in the whole of Southern Africa. He qualified MB ChB with honours in the University of Cape Town in 1941, and became house physician and lecturer in Pathology at the University, and between 1943 and 1945 served as a medical officer, Captain, in the South African Medical Corps.

In 1949 and 1950, he was senior registrar at the National Heart Hospital in London, and in 1950 obtained his MRCP London and Edinburgh.

From 1951 until his death, he was Director of the Cardiac Clinic in Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, and together with his colleagues built up an international reputation as a clinical cardiologist.

In 1960, he was awarded the FRCP Ediburgh and in 1962 the FRCP London.

From 1960 until his death, he was Director of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, University of Cape Town, principle physician and cardiologist, Groote Schuur Hospital, and also principle physician at Red Cross Memorial Childrens’ Hospital.

He was appointed to the Panel of Experts, World Health Organisation in 1960, and in 1966 he was the R.T. Hall Guest Lecturer in Australia in cardiology. He published 295 papers, either as a senior author or with his colleagues in the Cardiac Clinic at the University. He was co-author with Professor C.N. Barnard of The Surgery of the Common Congenital Cardiac Malformations, 1968, published by Staples Press, London (translated into German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese). He wrote a textbook, Clinical Cardiology, published by Staples Press, London, which went into a third edition, and in 1981 a posthumous edition was being published.

Velva Schrire had largely modelled himself on Paul Wood (under whom he had served at the National Heart Hospital) in his approach to clinical cardiology and his interpretation of clinical signs. His brilliance and dynamism were exceptional. He did not suffer fools gladly and at times could be intolerant. He could be labelled a workaholic - which has a good and a detrimental side to it. He died from carcinoma of the pancreas.

Maurice Nellen

[Brit.med.J., 1972, 1, 696; Lancet, 1972, 1, 601; Times, 25 Feb 1972; Cape Argus, Cape Town, 17 Feb 1972]

(Volume VI, page 400)

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