Lives of the fellows

Maurice Hirsh Oelbaum

b.24 October 1920 d.12 September 2008
BSc Manch(1942) MB ChB(1945) MRCP(1947) MD(1951) FRCP(1971)

Maurice Oelbaum was consultant physician to three Manchester hospitals and honorary clinical lecturer in medicine at both Manchester and Salford universities. The son of a Manchester textile merchant, Menachem Oelbaum, and Rachel Leah née Rothschild, Maurice studied medicine at Manchester University, gaining a BSc in physiology and clinical prizes in medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, and surgery. He chose a career in medicine, training at Manchester Royal Infirmary, and gaining an MD on the causes and treatment of hypopituitarism, especially in men.

He was appointed consultant physician to Crumpsall Hospital, Manchester, in 1952, and subsequently also to the Northern Hospital in 1955 and Manchester Victoria Jewish Memorial Hospital in 1964. He was appointed honorary clinical lecturer to Manchester University in 1952 and Salford University in 1968. In 1969 he was one of the original trustees who helped set up the postgraduate medical centre at North Manchester General Hospital.

He developed an interest in clinical haematology, having early in his career noted a link between pernicious anaemia and carcinoma of the stomach, and later described pyridoxine deficient hypochromic anaemia and megaloblastic anaemia due to lack of vitamin C. He remained, however, a very general physician with a busy practice serving three hospitals in a catchment area of over 400,000 with a high morbidity.

As a keen teacher he was able to share his broad medical knowledge with undergraduates and postgraduates, many of whom have gone on to become consultants. For many years he chaired the weekly medical meetings, continuing after his retirement until a few months prior to his death from congestive heart failure. He also chaired the hospital divisional medicine committee for three years. Although not a committee person, he would give his usual honest and forthright support to issues he believed in.

However, he was happier enjoying his family life and hobbies. His interest in cricket dated from his captaining his school team. As an undergraduate Maurice represented the university at table tennis, and continued to play with some of the members of the England team for a number of years. He was also interested in bridge, local politics, antiques (especially French furniture), and extensive world travel.

In 1955 he married Diana (the daughter of a local general practitioner, Harry Rosenthal). He is survived by his wife, together with two sons and a daughter, and four grandchildren. Maurice was proud to be present at his son Raymond’s election to Fellowship of the College in 2002.

David R Shreeve

(Volume XII, page web)

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