Lives of the fellows

Alick John Robertson

b.14 June 1919 d.22 June 2006
MB ChB Liverp(1942) MRCP(1949) MD(1951) FRCP(1964) MFOM(1983)

Alick John Robertson was a consultant physician at Liverpool Royal Infirmary. He was born in West Bromwich. His father, James Alick Robertson, was a chemical engineer, while his mother, Jane Millington Robertson née Warner, was the daughter of an insurance manager. Robertson was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School and then Wade Deacon Grammar School in Widnes. He went on to study medicine at Liverpool University, qualifying in 1942. Whilst a student he was on the athletics team and played cricket.

He held a post as a house physician to Henry Cohen [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.106] at Liverpool Royal Infirmary during 1943 and was then a medical registrar at the same hospital for nine months. He then joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was posted to West Africa, Burma, Malaya, India and Tibet.

Following his demobilisation, he returned to Liverpool, where he was a medical registrar. From 1949 to 1950 he held a Dorothy Temple Cross fellowship in tuberculosis at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Between 1952 to 1953 he was a senior medical registrar at Liverpool Royal Infirmary, becoming a consultant physician there and a lecturer at the University of Liverpool in 1954.

He had a reputation as a formidable teacher. He was editor of Thorax from 1960 to 1970, and published widely, including papers on why sputum can turn green, on the aetiology of lung sounds, on stannosis (a condition of tin refiners) and on malingering. His 1964 Milroy lecture at the Royal College of Physicians was on tin mining (‘The romance of tin’ The Lancet 6 June 1964, Vol.282, Issue 7445, 1229-36).

He travelled extensively, especially following his retirement and helped establish health services in Libya and Afghanistan. He also climbed in South America and visited the Inuit in Canada.

In 1944 he married Gladys Elizabeth McNee Porteus in Accra on the Gold Coast. They had three sons and two daughters. Robertson died suddenly from a heart attack and was survived by his wife and children.

RCP editor

[Brit.med.J., 2006 333 811]

(Volume XII, page web)

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