Lives of the fellows

Jerome Gerald Lewis

b.21 November 1927 d.28 November 2015
MB BS Lond(1951) MRCS LRCP(1951) MRCP(1955) MD(1960) FRCP(1973)

Jerome Gerald Lewis (known as Jerry) was a consultant physician at Edgware General Hospital, Middlesex. He was born in London, the son of Isaac Lewis and Rebecca Lewis née Ketcher. His grandparents had emigrated to the UK. Early schooling was interrupted by evacuation to Cornwall during the Second World War. This period of his life made a deep impression upon him and was formative in his future development as a caring physician. His mother moved to Cornwall to be near him during those years and he often referred to that time as one of the happiest periods of his life.

Returning to London at the end of the war, he completed his school days at St Clement Danes School, from where he won a scholarship to the London Hospital Medical School, qualifying in 1951. Following house officer posts at the London Hospital, he spent two years of National Service in the Royal Air Force. In 1956 he married Blanche Skolnick, who shared a similar heritage and background, and to whom he was happily married for the next 59 years.

Back in civilian life he became a senior house officer at the Postgraduate Medical School of London at Hammersmith Hospital. Registrar posts at the Royal Free and Brompton hospitals led to a senior registrar position at Charing Cross Hospital in 1961. He received an MD during that time. In 1964 Jerry was appointed as a consultant physician at Edgware General Hospital. Countless patients and many generations of junior doctors and medical students will remember him as a kindly, sympathetic and very knowledgeable general physician with a talent for teaching. He had a special interest in clinical pharmacology and served on the British National Formulary committee, the Pharmaceutical Society’s codex revision committee, the action and doses committee of the British Pharmacopoeia and the Prescribers’ Journal.

He wrote several books, including a very popular handbook for house physicians (Guide to house physicians in the medical unit London, Heinemann Medical, 1970), notes on therapeutics (Therapeutics London, English Universities Press, 1968) and a guide to endocrinology for medical students and nurses (The endocrine system Harmondsworth, Penguin Education, 1973). He belonged to a number of societies – the Medical Society of London, the Harveian Society, the Society of Apothecaries and the Royal Society of Medicine – and was a regular and well-known attender of meetings.

He acted as an adviser to the Royal College of Physicians, the British Medical Association and regional boards in the investigation of complaints against consultant physicians of similar standing and experience. He was also a tireless examiner for London University, the Royal College of Physicians, the General Medical Council (for the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test), and other medical and nursing bodies.

His enthusiasm for teaching brought him into contact with the newly formed St George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada in the West Indies. He successfully encouraged his consultant colleagues at Edgware Hospital to follow his example in taking students from that medical school for a period of their training alongside students from Middlesex Hospital. It was not surprising that he was invited to become a faculty member at St George’s and later became assistant UK clinical dean. It was a happy liaison which lasted for the remainder of his career and of which Jerry was justly proud.

Apart from medicine, he had many other interests, prominent amongst which was a long-standing love of music, especially opera. Along with Blanche, he spent many hours listening to music at home and at venues like Covent Garden and Glyndebourne. Following his retirement he was able to indulge this passion further, but he also continued with private practice, medico-legal work and reviewing medical texts. He also taught himself Russian. He was survived by Blanche and two children.

Gerald Bevan

[BMJ 2016 353 2435 – accessed 23 May 2016]

(Volume XII, page web)

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