Lives of the fellows

Richard Robert Haynes Lovell

b.9 November 1918 d.30 April 2000
LRCP MRCS(1941) MB BS Lond(1946) MRCP(1947) MD(1949) MSc Melb(1957) FRACP(1957) FRCP(1960) Hon FACP(1975)

Richard 'Dick' Robert Haynes Lovell was the first James Stewart professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He born in London, the son of Arthur Lovell, a doctor, and Dorothy Marriott, the daughter of a Church of England clergyman.

Dick graduated from London University, St Mary's Hospital in 1941, but he was appointed as a house physician in 1940, before he had qualified. He then joined the Royal Navy in 1941 as surgeon lieutenant and served until 1946 with distinction. His career in the Navy also provided many anecdotes for social gatherings.

Dick returned to medicine and was appointed house physician at the Brompton Hospital in 1946. In 1948 he returned to St Mary's, where he was subsequently appointed a lecturer and then a senior lecturer in medicine.

It was during these fruitful years that Dick's clinical and teaching skills became obvious. Dick was a very approachable human being who was able to relate to his patients and their relatives on the same level as he did with junior staff and peers alike.

Socially, Dick enjoyed the life at St Mary's, whether it was the Christmas dinner on the wards, the annual Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, the rugger or other activities that St Mary's had to offer.

His capacity for research was revealed during those years in London and this continued throughout his medical life. Two physicians in particular had a great influence on his work. They were Charles Wilson (later Lord Moran) [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.407] and Sir George Pickering [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.464], who first influenced Dick's interest in hypertension. Dick was later to write a biography of Lord Moran, Churchill's doctor (Victoria, Melbourne University Press, 1993).

It was no surprise that Dick Lovell was appointed to the foundation chair of medicine at the University of Melbourne, becoming the first James Stewart professor of medicine, initially at the Royal Melbourne and Alfred Hospitals, but a little later at the Royal Melbourne alone.

Dick proceeded to create university departments within the hospital which, although new to the senior staff, were very successful. His addition to the hospital staff was very noticeable when measured by the enthusiasm and quality of the undergraduate and graduate teaching.

He continued his research in hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias and he successfully, with Maurice Ewing and Priscilla Kincaid-Smith, orchestrated the development of renal transplant in Australia.

He then 'retired' from the James Stewart chair and started on his third career, where he devoted time to the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria. He became the inaugural chair of the medical research ethics committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council. His outstanding service to medicine was recognised with his appointment as an Officer in of the Order of Australia and other awards including the Sir William Upjohn medal in 1983.

Dick always maintained his friendships as life progressed and still found time to offer the same hospitality, caring and warmth to all those around him.

Richard Lovell devoted his life to medicine both in England and Australia, influencing many young doctors who are now continuing his work, achieving similar successes and holding leading positions in medicine.

Harry T Goodman

[The Age 9 May 200]

(Volume XI, page 348)

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