Lives of the fellows

Richard Wolff Emanuel

b.13 January 1923 d.12 April 2007
BM BCh Oxon(1948) MRCP(1952) DM(1954) FACC(1961) FRCP(1967)

Richard Emanuel, one of the most distinguished cardiologists of his generation, was a physician and lecturer at the Middlesex and National Heart hospitals in London and a civilian consultant to the RAF. Born in Birmingham, his upbringing was rooted in medicine and public service: his father, Joseph George Emanuel [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.122], was professor of medicine at Queen’s Hospital, Birmingham, while his mother, Ethel Emanuel, was an early chair of the Family Planning Association.

He was educated at Bradfield and Oriel College, Oxford, and then moved to London, where he held junior posts at the Middlesex Hospital. He was a senior medical registrar at the Middlesex, National Heart Hospital and then at Brompton Hospital under Paul Wood [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.456]. Emanuel created a pioneering database on the genetic aspects of heart disease and Marfan’s syndrome in the early days of the Institute of Cardiology (now the National Heart and Lung Institute). In 1961 he was appointed assistant director of the Institute and from 1963 he was a consultant physician at the National Heart and Middlesex hospitals.

His international reputation in teaching and research was acknowledged by membership and honorary medical degrees from numerous cardiovascular societies and universities. Overseas universities constantly sought his help, requiring extensive travel to destinations as diverse as Singapore, Philippines, Sudan and Thailand. He was awarded the Order of the Crown of Pahang, bestowed for medical services.

Emanuel’s meticulous attention to detail, his great charm and kindness in improving the way of life of many epitomised all that is best in the practice of medicine and this was fondly remembered by his patients, many of whom stayed in touch long after his retirement. His peers and juniors respected and sought out his knowledge and experience which he willingly shared.

He was a keen fisherman and an acknowledged expert in Engligh 18th century pedestal stem drinking glasses. He married Lavinia in 1950 and they had three sons and six grandchildren.

Robert Donaldson

(Volume XII, page web)

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