Lives of the fellows

David Wilfried Levy

b.16 May 1927 d.9 September 2008
MB ChB Cape Town(1950) MRCP(1955) FRCP(1984) BA Open

David Levy was a skilled and respected physician who helped make Royal Bolton Hospital a popular centre for training in both general and geriatric medicine. He was born in Cape Town, South Africa. His parents, who were of Lithuanian descent, moved to South Africa, where his father, Philip Levy, owned general stores. David was educated at South African College School in Cape Town, from where he entered the University of Cape Town to study medicine. He graduated in 1950 and, after house jobs in Bulawayo, undertook postgraduate training in the UK, spending two years at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping. During this time he gained the MRCP.

He returned to South Africa and continued his training at Edenvale Hospital in Johannesburg and at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. In 1960 he moved to Port Elizabeth, first in private practice and then at the Provincial and Livingstone hospitals, where he worked as a physician, developing a renal medicine service. He had an extremely varied practice, including tuberculosis and plague, about which he wrote papers in the South African Medical Journal. Amongst the patients described in his paper on ‘Unusual cases of human plague in Southern Africa’ (SAMJ 1973 47 2109-13) was a man who was infected by the bite of a kitten.

He and his family decided in the 1970s to leave apartheid South Africa and, through the auspices of John Brocklehurst, he accepted a position at University Hospital of South Manchester in 1978.

Three years later, he moved on to Bolton. There, with his colleague and friend Arup Banerjee, he developed services for older people. He loved contact with patients and the opportunities that bedside teaching offered to develop younger doctors’ skills. Linda Patterson worked with him as a senior registrar and remembers him as a meticulous clinician: ‘His reviews of the patient were always careful and measured, with an eye for detail…. He always examined the patient and then gave a careful judgement of the diagnosis and management plan. He was never hurried and treated his patients with kindness and consideration. His wealth of clinical experience was obvious and I learned much from him. As well as being kind to his patients, he always treated staff and doctors in training with the utmost courtesy. He was an “old fashioned clinician” maybe, but a real example of what a good physician should be.’

He undertook a number of locums after retirement and obtained a BA degree in the humanities from the Open University. He was survived by his wife Shirley née MacKenzie (a medical practitioner who worked in general practice and nuclear medicine), their children, Philip, Ruth and Cathy, and two grandchildren.

Peter Crome

[Brit.med.J., 2008 337 2139]

(Volume XII, page web)

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