Lives of the fellows

Wilfrid Henry Russell Cook

b.27 March 1914 d.30 December 1998
MRCS LRCP(1938) MB ChB Liverp(1938) MRCP(1946) MD(1951) FRCP(1969)

Wilfrid Henry Russell Cook was a general physician in Liverpool and Southport and the first to instigate the multidisciplinary thyroid clinic where physicians, surgeons and nuclear medicine specialists could consult together.

He was born in Bootle and educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby. He went on to Liverpool University to read medicine. After he graduated in 1938 he was appointed house surgeon at Walton Hospital and was also house physician to Henry Cohen, later Baron Cohen [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.106]. These six months Cook described as the most useful time of his life. Cohen was not only a superb diagnostician, but was also the best clinical tutor the aspiring physician Cook ever knew.

With the advent of the war, Cook enlisted as a surgeon lieutenant in the Royal Navy and served most of his time in the Mediterranean. With the end of the European conflict, he was bound for the Far East, but only got as far as Colombo in Ceylon before peace broke out and he returned home.

He obtained his MRCP whilst a registrar at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary under Wallace Jones [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.433]. In 1949 he was appointed consultant physician to Broadgreen Hospital, where he was the junior to Cyril Clarke [Munk's Roll, Vol.XI], and also to Southport Hospital, where he worked with Eric Baker-Bates [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.14].

In 1952 he was appointed to the David Lewis Northern Hospital and served there until its closure in 1978. He just had time for one year as senior physician at the brand new Royal Liverpool Hospital before retiring in September 1979.

His main clinical interests included thyroid disease and electrocardiography (he completed an MD in 1951 on the use of pectoral leads in the diagnosis of posterior myocardial infarction).

He was a great believer in everyone having an indoor and an outdoor hobby. For the former Cook chose numismatics, specialising in Anglo-Gallic coins covering the reigns of Henry II to Henry VI, and for the latter, gardening. As a former president of his year at medical school he also spent some of his retirement organising student reunions, including a 60th anniversary celebration.

Wilfrid Cook died after a long illness, through which he constantly displayed great strength of character.

P D O Davies

[Brit.med.J., 1999,318,401]

(Volume XI, page 126)

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