Lives of the fellows

Phillip Arthur Zorab

b.18 December 1915 d.8 February 1983
MRCS LRCP(1951) MB BS Lond(1952) MRCP(1956) MD(1960) FRCP(1972)

Phillip Zorab was born in Southampton, one of five brothers who, like their father, all qualified in medicine at Guy’s.

After schooling at Cheltenham College, he went into the City until he joined the Royal Artillery at the outbreak of war. He had a distinguished war record, serving on several fronts in Europe and Greece and being mentioned in despatches. Like many of his generation he came late to medicine, qualifying at the age of thirty-seven in 1952. He took the MRCP in 1956 and was elected FRCP in 1972. After junior posts at Guy’s and Brompton Hospitals, he was appointed consultant physician to St Charles’s Hospital and the Paddington and Kensington Chest Clinic and subsequently to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, and to the Brompton Hospital. He was part-time senior lecturer at the Institute for Diseases of the Chest (later the Cardiothoracic Institute) and was assistant director of the paediatric department there.

Zorab evinced an early interest in diseases of the spine when writing his MD thesis in 1960 on ankylosing spondylitis, and he devoted the rest of his life to the investigation and care of children and adults with various forms of scoliosis. With his colleagues at Brompton he led the field in the recognition and management of disorders of respiratory and cardiac function associated with spinal deformity.

His own research established normal growth data for various factors — hydroxyproline, creatinine, luteinising hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and testosterone — in a five year longitudinal study of adolescent boys and girls for comparison with scoliotic children. However, he will best be remembered for the breadth of vision which led him to organize a series of international, multidisciplinary symposia held at the Cardiothoracic Institute to study every facet of causation and management of scoliosis and, not least, the emotional, social and economic consequences of the disease to the patients themselves. At an 8th symposium after his death, a Phillip Zorab Scoliosis Trust was established to ensure the continuation of his work at Brompton and of these much valued meetings.

He had many other interests including a love of music, but all who knew him were impressed by his devotion to his family and his Christian faith which coloured much of his work. For many years he was church warden of Holy Trinity Church, Brompton. While at Guy’s he met his wife Jane, who was a ward sister, and there can be few of his colleagues and friends who did not enjoy the hospitality of their home. He was survived by his wife and four children.

EEF Keal

[Brit.med.J., 1983, 286, 655; Lancet, 1983,1, 603; Times, 12 Feb 1983; Guy’s Hosp. Gazette, March 1983, 97]

(Volume VII, page 630)

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