Lives of the fellows

Dharm Vir Bansal

b.21 December 1931 d.7 October 2008
MB BS Punjab(1958) DPM(1962) MRCP(1969) FRCP(1989)

A consultant physician in geriatric medicine at North Manchester General Hospital, Dharm Vir Bansal worked incessantly for the improvement of care of the elderly.

He was born in Tohana, Haryana, north India, the son of Dewan Chand Bansal, a practitioner in Ayurvedic medicine, and Munna Devi Bansal, a housewife. Dharm Vir began his medical studies at Amritsar Medical College and graduated in 1958. A spirit of adventure brought him by steam boat through the Suez Canal to the UK. He first specialised in psychiatry, gaining his diploma in psychological medicine in 1962. In Manchester he was a registrar in general medicine at Ancoats Hospital, then a locum senior registrar in cardiology and nephrology. From 1971 he was a senior registrar in geriatric medicine at the Northern Hospital and, from February 1974, a consultant physician.

During his early years as a consultant he was involved in improving the care of the elderly. He was a true champion for better care, fighting for resources, making certain there were enough physiotherapists and occupational therapists in the department and opposing bed losses. He was an inspiration to junior doctors who saw him treat his patients with utmost humanity and empathy. He was a warm, good-hearted and cheerful man who was always interested in what others had to say. In later years he developed a penchant for lecturing on pre-retirement preparation. His skill in this field was outstanding and he would often get an ovation after his lectures.

In 1970 he married Antoinette. Theirs was a happy union and they led a rich multi-cultural life. They had three daughters – Aruna, who has a doctorate in statistics, Anita, a specialist registrar in gastroenterology, and Sarita, a project manager at an alternative energy company.

He was a complete and well-read man. A lifelong student of Hinduism and metaphysics, he was a pupil of Swami Brahmananda. Despite his leanings towards Indian religion and philosophy, he was a regular at his local pub and enjoyed the great British pint. He took an active interest in the stock market and British politics. After his retirement he enjoyed good health until August 2008, but sadly died from carcinomatosis and stroke two months later.

Vaneet Khanna

(Volume XII, page web)

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