Lives of the fellows

Frank Henry Newton Spracklen

b.31 August 1933 d.11 February 1993
MB ChB Cape Town(1957) MRCP(1960) MD Cape Town(1967) FACC(1979) FRCP(1982)

Frank Spracklen was born in Cape Town, South Africa, the son of Llewellyn Spracklen. He was educated at St George’s Grammar School, Cape Town, and the University of Cape Town, pursuing his clinicals at the Groote Schuur Hospital. He graduated with honours and class medals in surgery and obstetrics in 1957 and that same year he married Marijke van Doesburgh. They had two daughters.

After house posts at the Groote Schuur, he came to the UK in 1960 as resident registrar to Paul Wood [Munk's Roll, Vol.V, p.456] at the National Heart Hospital. After a brief spell in the USA as fellow in cardiology and assistant in medicine at the University of Colorado, Denver, he returned to the UK in August 1965 to take up the post of senior medical registrar in cardiology at St Mary’s Hospital, London.

He returned to Cape Town in January 1969 as senior physician to the cardiac clinic at the Groote Schuur and in 1974 was appointed head of the department of medicine at the Somerset Hospital, one of Cape Town’s teaching hospitals. In 1982 he was appointed head of the Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Cape Town and started to take an active interests in AIDS. Frank was a haemophiliac - trapped and frustrated in a body that could not keep up with his brain. Hence his interest, activity and furtherance of the cause of conquering AIDS. He cheerfully overcame his own physical limitations resulting from haemophiliac trauma to his joints. It was thanks to Frank that AIDS-free heat treated Factor VIII became available for haemophiliacs in Cape Town. In the face of all adversity he showed nothing but courage, never complained, and was always on the other end of a telephone at everyone’s beck and call. He would never turn away any patient or colleague. Medicine was his life - followed closely by his family. He died tragically, in a car crash caused by a tyre blow out, on the way to a well deserved holiday. He left behind his wife Marijke, his two married daughters - Ann and Mary - and three grandchildren.

L H Opie

(Volume IX, page 499)

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