Lives of the fellows

Simon Nurick

b.22 November 1933 d.11 May 2009
BM BCh Oxon(1958) MRCP(1964) DM(1971) FRCP(1978)

Simon Nurick was a consultant neurologist in Sussex. He was brought up in Aylesbury, where his father, Lionel Nurick, was a dental surgeon. He was educated at Beaumont College, Christ Church College, Oxford, and Guy’s Hospital, where he qualified in 1958.

After house jobs at Guy’s, he carried out his National Service in the RAMC with the British Army of the Rhine. He then turned his attention to neurology and became a resident medical officer at the National Hospital, Queen Square, and then a senior registrar at Maida Vale.

In 1972 he was appointed to Brighton and Eastbourne, his regional base being Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre in Haywards Heath. For 20 years, with his colleague John Rees, Simon provided a neurological service to East Sussex and a significant part of West Sussex. He also provided a consultant service to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children in Brighton. Major re-organisational changes took place both locally and nationally in the NHS in the 1970s and 1980s and new technology in the form of scanning eventually became available. Simon was an excellent organiser and a good committee man; he was a major player in developing local neurological services over a period of two decades.

He was an excellent diagnostician and was much in demand as a consultant referral for colleagues and their families. He had the analytical mind of many neurologists and so he developed a successful medico-legal practice that continued well into his retirement. His private practice was equally successful.

Simon was a natural teacher, setting up regular sessions in Brighton at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He would have been delighted to have been involved with the now well-established Brighton and Sussex Medical School. He was at various times visiting neurologist in Denver, Colorado, and at Montpellier, and also a British Council lecturer in Iran. He set up a very effective graduate exchange system for Iranian embryo neurologists. This lasted for a few years, but sadly came to a halt with the overthrow of the Shah.

Simon was forward-looking and, with various colleagues, set up regular joint clinical meetings with other disciplines. There were also weekly clinical audit meetings involving juniors and nurses at a time when this was very uncommon practice.

Simon’s main research interest was cervical spondylosis and the associated spinal cord disorders. His Oxford DM thesis was on this topic and he made seminal contributions published in Brain [1972;95(1):87-100], in addition to a chapter in the Modern trends in neurology (volume six, Butterworths, 1975).

Outside medicine, Simon was a good, albeit occasional, golf player. His main interests were in music, the arts and literature. An ideal day out would have included a visit to an art exhibition, followed by an opera by Richard Strauss. He was a very successful linguist. After a hip fracture in France in his fifties, he became a serious Francophile, gaining an A level in French and then passing the difficult Institute of Linguists examination. He regularly read books in the original French.

He married Theodora (née Mullen) in 1961. They had four children, one of whom, a nurse, married a local GP. He was a very popular grandfather to all of his eight grandchildren. He had a strong Catholic faith, which helped him through his final illness, borne with his customary stoicism.

John Rees

[,2009 339 3309]

(Volume XII, page web)

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