Lives of the fellows

Jacob Shafar

b.16 June 1911 d.2 January 2002
MB ChB Glasg(1933) DPH(1936) MD(1937) MRCP(1940) FRCP(1967)

Jacob, or 'Jack', Shafar was a consultant general physician at the Burnley group of hospitals. He was born in Glasgow, where his father was a local businessman. He attended Hutchinson's Grammar School, where he excelled, gaining first prizes in every year. He went on to study medicine at Glasgow University, where he did equally well, gaining merit awards in all clinical cases. He had resident appointments in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and in Newport, Wales, where he took his diploma in public health. When war broke out he applied for the armed forces but was rejected on two occasions on medical grounds. He went to London and worked as first assistant at Willesden General Hospital, and as medical registrar and subsequently assistant physician at the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Maida Vale.

He then decided to return to Glasgow to be with his parents as his brothers were in the forces. He then had a variety of senior medical posts in and around Glasgow and Edinburgh. He decided to go south again, and was appointed chest physician to Blackburn.

He was appointed consultant physician in general medicine to the Burnley group of hospitals in 1950, and retired in 1976, but was immediately asked to take over as the occupational and staff health physician. He finally retired in 1980 due to ill health.

With his vast experience in so many fields of general medicine he had an enormous influence on the development and improvement of medicine in the Burnley area. He was extremely popular with his fellow consultants, and with his colleagues in general practice, who relied on him greatly.

Jack researched and published on a wide variety of medical subjects in various prestigious journals.

He was a man with many interests, particularly his garden, and also medical history, poetry and music, and medical biography. On these subjects he was extremely well read, and was prolific in his writing and publishing.

He was a shy, sensitive man, who was generous and caring almost to a fault, and tended to feel almost too strongly about his really ill patients. His last years were clouded by ill health. He had a major stroke in 1988 that affected his speech quite badly. He made a partial recovery, and his mind remained as sharp as ever.

He and his wife Susi were married for over 50 years but had no children, however he came from a large family with five brothers and one sister, and had numerous nephews and nieces to whom he was greatly attached. Susi was a distinguished consultant psychiatrist to the Crumpsall and North Manchester Hospital, and is chair of MIND in north east Lancashire.

Winston Turner

[Brit.med.J., 2002,324,681]

(Volume XI, page 511)

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