Lives of the fellows

Bernard Hooper Smith

b.22 November 1917 d.24 January 1985
MB ChB Aberd(1940) MRCP(1947) DPM(1950) MD(1956) FRCP(1965)

Bernard Smith was professor of neurology at the University Medical School, Buffalo NY, USA, and head of the neurological department at the Edward J Meyer Memorial Hospital, now the Eric County Medical Center.

Bernard was born in Scotland at Peterculter, Aberdeen, where his father was a carting contractor. He attended the local school, going on to Aberdeen Grammar School and subsequently to Aberdeen University, where he graduated in medicine with first class honours. After qualification he held house posts at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary until 1941 when he joined the RAMC, serving in India and Burma until 1946. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and became assistant director of nutrition at GHQ India Command.

On demobilization he was affiliated to the National Hospitals, Queen Square, and the Maudsley Hospital, for three years. He became interested in psychiatry and was appointed registrar to Eliot Slater [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.541] at the National. But Bernard’s primary interest was neurology, and in the years immediately after the war there were very few posts in this country. He decided to go to the United States, and spent a year in Cincinnati. From there he moved on to the Montreal Neurological Institute, Canada, under the direction of Wilder Penfield, and was later appointed lecturer in neurology at McGill Hospital, Montreal. In 1953 he returned to the USA, becoming the first consultant neurologist to be appointed in Buffalo. In January 1955 he was appointed professor of neurology at the University of Buffalo Medical School. During this time he built up a fine department at the Meyer Memorial Hospital and instituted a trainng programme for residents. He was an excellent teacher, a first class organizer, and an outstanding diagnostician.

He wrote three excellent books on neurology: a textbook Principles of clinical neurology, Chicago, Year Book Medical Publishers, 1965; a monograph Cervical spondylosis and its neurological complications, Springfield,Ill.,Thomas, c.1968, and Differential diagnosis neurology, New York, Arco Pub.,c. 1979.

Bernard was a very likeable man with a good sense of humour; he loved people, enjoyed life fully, and travelled extensively after his retirement. He had married Ruth Hanna, daughter of James Sherman Hanna, in 1959. There were no children of the marriage. He and his wife were very hospitable and enjoyed entertaining many English neurologists at their home near Buffalo. His wife survived him.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
V Luniewska

[Lancet, 1985,1,709]

(Volume VIII, page 472)

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