Lives of the fellows

Peter Bertram Cook

b.12 April 1926 d.17 June 2000
MB BS Lond(1949) MRCP(1954) MD(1958) DPH(1960) DIH(1966) MFOM(1978) FRCP(1989)

Peter Bertram Cook was a specialist in occupational medicine and chief medical officer at the Dubai Aluminium Company. He was born in the East End of London and educated at East Ham Grammar School. He trained at King's College, University of London and at St George's Hospital. His parents were of modest means and much of his medical education was subsidised by various grants and scholarships. He graduated in 1949 and was awarded the Thompson medal and Sir Benjamin Brodie prize.

Following house jobs he joined the RAF and was posted to Habinier in Iraq for national service. He gained the rank of squadron leader and then returned to St George's Hospital as resident medical officer and later as a medical registrar.

He joined Shell and circumnavigated the globe as a ship's doctor, stopping for a year in Australia. On his return he moved to Stanmore and wrote an MD, on the effects of thyrotoxicosis on bone metabolism. Subsequently he was appointed senior registrar at the General Infirmary at Leeds. He then joined BP in 1963 and travelled extensively in the Middle East, where he spent most of his working life. In 1972 he became chief medical officer for Aluminium Bahrain, developing the occupational medical services for the company. In 1978 he moved to a similar post in Dubai, retiring in 1994.

He was proud to be the chairman of the health committee of the International Primary Aluminium Institute and a member of the environmental committee. He wrote the second edition of Trevethick's occupational health hazard: a practical guides [Oxford, Heinemann Medical, 1989].

He enjoyed the prospect of travelling to new and challenging working environments, always making the best of what was available. He worked tirelessly for his patients and staff and fought especially hard to improve the working conditions for the largely Asian workforce in Bahrain and Dubai. His clinics were run efficiently with special attention to the basics of hygiene and cleanliness. His honesty and integrity were held in high esteem.

He was an excellent host whose charm and enthusiasm ensured a lively outcome to most social gatherings. He was a keen sailor and squash player.

He married Ann (née Rodwell) in 1961 in Aden and they had three children. He was a generous family man never short of encouragement for his children, two of whom followed him into medicine.

Robert E Cook
Elizabeth J Cook

[Brit.med.J., 2000,321,964]

(Volume XI, page 125)

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