Lives of the fellows

David Fluck

b.29 April 1935 d.3 November 2000
MB ChB Leeds(1956) MRCP(1961) MRCP Edin(1961) FRCP Edin(1973) FRCP(1977) FACC(1980)

David Fluck was a consultant cardiologist at Central Middlesex Hospital, London. He was born in Leeds, the son of a bank official. Although he was an outstanding mathematician at school, he decided on a career in medicine. He entered Leeds School of Medicine, to which he won both a state scholarship and a Leeds senior city scholarship. In spite of a busy social life, and regular appearances in the medics rugby XV, he graduated with prizes in medicine and paediatrics.

His initial intention was to enter general practice, and with this in mind he became a pre-registration house surgeon in gynaecology to Sir Andrew Clay. This was to be followed by six months in obstetrics, but at the changeover he decided to return to medicine, and became house physician to Sir Ronald Tunbridge [Munk's Roll, Vol.VIII, p.513].

Before joining the RAMC he managed to fit in six months in general and respiratory medicine with Tom Simpson [Munk's Roll, Vol.IX, p.470] at the Chase Farm Hospital. At that time great strides were being made in that department in investigating the role of carbon dioxide in patients with chronic respiratory failure developing papilloedema.

Two years in the RAMC, mainly at Tidworth Military Hospital, were followed by the post of medical registrar at Dulwich Hospital. There he worked, amongst others, for David Pyke. He obtained his MRCP at that time. This then led to the post of house physician at Hammersmith Hospital to Fletcher [Munk's Roll, Vol.X, p.146], Scadding and Moran Campbell, and he then moved as medical registrar to Dame Frances Gardner [Munk's Roll, Vol.IX, p.189] and Nigel Compston's [Munk's Roll, Vol.VIII, p.103] department at the Royal Free Hospital. Six months of cardiology as RMO at the National Heart Hospital were followed by the post of medical registrar to Shillingford and Mounsey at Hammersmith Hospital, where he spent two very productive two years

He wrote an important single author paper in Clinical Science on chest movements in hemiplegia, and was the first author of a number of papers published in the British Heart Journal on right and left ventricular pressures in conditions such as chronic bronchitis, myocardial infarction, and on the natural history of arrhythmias after acute cardiac infarction.

He became a senior registrar in general medicine and cardiology at Guy's Hospital in October 1966. These were particularly lean years for consultant posts anywhere in the country, and it was not until 1972 that he obtained a consultant post in general medicine and cardiology at the Central Middlesex Hospital.

At Central Middlesex Hospital he was able to pursue his interest in research with further studies on catecholamines in patients with coronary artery disease. He also became very involved in teaching both undergraduates and postgraduates and this was recognized by his appointment as tutor at the Avery-Jones postgraduate medical centre from 1973 to 1979.

He was a very able clinician and teacher and he was also a cardiologist of the modern school, trained in various invasive procedures which he was able to put into effect through an attachment to the Harefield Hospital regional cardiac unit. He brought more than clinical cardiology to the district setting, developing a coronary care unit, echocardiography and implantation of permanent pacemakers at the Central Middlesex Hospital.

He played rugby well into his middle 30s at the local club. He continued with his commitment in the RAMC as a territorial and in due course was awarded the territorial decoration. He enjoyed fine ale, and the companionship of others, both higher and lower in the medical hierarchy, and was always pleasantly irreverent to those who thought themselves above him.

He married Elizabeth Byce, a nursing sister, whilst in the RAMC and his family must surely hold a record as far as the College is concerned. Of his three sons and two daughters, the youngest daughter became a solicitor, the other four took up medicine. All obtained their membership of the College very rapidly, three have already become consultants and one is still in training. Two have already been elected to the Fellowship. Two of the medical children have married members of the College.

Very sadly, at a relatively early age, and soon after being appointed consultant, he developed the early manifestations of multiple sclerosis. Initially they came and went, but soon he became increasingly more disabled, and he had to retire prematurely from his post as consultant. He was carefully looked after by his devoted wife, and children, and it gave him great pleasure to see how they all progressed in their chosen fields.

R S Kocen

[Proc.R.Coll.Physicians.Edinb. 2001:31:86]

(Volume XI, page 203)

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