Lives of the fellows

Gregory Shneerson

b.19 October 1912 d.16 May 2004
MRCS LRCP(1937) MB BS London(1938) MRCP(1947) MD(1948) FRCP(1973)

Gregory Shneerson's career as a consultant chest physician spanned the major changes in respiratory medicine, from dealing solely with tuberculosis to its modern form. He was educated at St Paul's School, London, which he entered as a scholar in 1924. He obtained a place at St John's College, Cambridge, but, because of changes in his family situation, he was unable to take this up and instead won a scholarship to St Mary's Hospital, London. He qualified in 1937 and was a senior house officer before the war.

He joined the RAF Medical Service in 1940 and had several postings, both within the UK and subsequently in Canada, where he had considerable exposure to general as well as respiratory medicine. He served as a squadron leader, and was able to supplement his salary with substantial earnings through his skill at poker.

Following demobilisation, he was a registrar between 1946 and 1948 at the Brompton Hospital, obtaining his MRCP in 1947 and MD in 1948. At that time tuberculosis was the major threat to industrialised societies and he was closely involved in running the tuberculosis service in north west London. He was appointed to several chest clinics and hospitals, including Paddington General and St Charles's, and retained his close links with the Brompton Hospital during this time.

As tuberculosis declined with the development of effective chemotherapy in the 1950s he expanded his range of interests, which were always clinically based. His strength lay in his sympathetic approach to the individual patient's problems. He was subsequently appointed as a consultant physician at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, and at the Royal Free Hospital.

He was a keen teacher of both undergraduates and postgraduates and, although not a natural committee person, he was the representative of the Paddington group on the regional BMA consultants and specialists committee for nine years from 1955 and a member of the St Mary's Hospital board of governors from 1967 to 1969.

He excelled at sport, playing for the combined public school's team at cricket, narrowly missing being selected for Middlesex, but playing regularly for many years for the Club Cricket Conference, which represents all the cricket clubs in the United Kingdom. He won the public school's rugby fives doubles in 1930 and subsequently played squash for United Hospitals. He was an excellent centre and full back at rugby, playing for the London Public Schools and Middlesex Junior County Team, and subsequently for the Old Paulines until the war. After he retired from club cricket at the age of 55, he became a keen golfer, continuing to play until the age of 88.

He married Freda Ledger in 1941, who died in 1980. They had two children, Elisabeth, a physiotherapist, and John, a consultant chest physician at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge.

He read widely, enjoyed music and playing bridge in his long retirement. He remained active and independent, and retained his slightly dry sense of humour to the end.

J M Shneerson

(Volume XI, page 520)

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