Lives of the fellows

Percy John Deryk Snow

b.23 May 1925 d.2012
OBE MB ChB Manch(1948) MRCS LRCP(1948) MRCP(1950) MD(1955) FRCP(1970)

Deryk Snow (as he was commonly known) was a consultant physician in Bolton. He was born in Kidsgrove, north Staffordshire, the son of Percy John Snow, an accountant, and Eileen Caroline Snow née Thompson. He went to school in Hanley and later in Newcastle-under-Lyme. He studied medicine at Manchester Medical School and qualified in 1948 – the year the National Health Service was introduced. He was therefore part of a generation of physicians who helped develop the NHS in the early years.

Between 1951 and 1952 he was a junior lecturer in cardiology at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) and his lifelong interest in heart disorders began. He then spent two years in the RAF on his National Service, as a squadron leader and medical specialist. From 1954 to 1959 he was a senior registrar at the MRI and had the opportunity to work closely with, among others, Douglas Black [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.62] and Robert Platt [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.470].

The use of beta-blocking agents was novel and experimental in those days. Deryk’s paper in the prestigious journal The Lancet on the efficacy of beta blockers after myocardial infarction generated a huge amount of interest among medical researchers, and opened up a new way of management of heart disease (‘Effect of propranolol in myocardial infarction’ The Lancet 1965 Sep 18;2[7412]:551-3).

Deryk joined Bolton hospitals as a consultant physician in 1959, at the age of 34. The next three and a half decades saw his widespread contributions in the fields of service delivery, postgraduate teaching and training, continuing postgraduate education, and the management of the NHS in general, especially in the north west.

In addition to his busy clinical schedule, he was extremely keen on the training of junior doctors and continuing medical education. As a postgraduate clinical tutor (a fairly new role in those days), he was instrumental in setting up regular lectures, case-conferences and seminars for both hospital doctors and general practitioners in Bolton. The newly established postgraduate centre and library, adjacent to Bolton Royal Infirmary, where he was initially based, became a hub for many educational activities. He was a clinical tutor for nearly 10 years, only giving up so he could assume wider responsibility as a member of the Bolton Health Authority and, a few years later, as a member of the North West Regional Health Authority.

Deryk served as the RCP north west regional adviser and deputy adviser during the late seventies. He was secretary of the North West Regional Association of Physicians and a member of the council of the Manchester Medical Society.

Deryk Snow was an interesting man – usually quiet, but extremely sharp and searching, a constant source of wise and sensible advice and help, and, most important of all, a superb clinician, always available and supportive, caring and kind. He was well-respected by all staff, both medical and nursing, and the local general practitioners always valued his opinion.

Deryk was appointed an OBE for his contribution to medicine just before his retirement in 1991.

He was not a great social or party person, and used to keep himself to himself. Outside medicine, he had some interest in gardening and motoring. During his later years he became somewhat disabled and immobile. He married Marjorie Mary Worrall in 1949 and they had two daughters. He will be fondly remembered by his many friends and colleagues.

Arup Banerjee

(Volume XII, page web)

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