Lives of the fellows

Chiramel Jose Paul

b.29 June 1941 d.9 December 2015
MB BS Kerala(1969) MRCP(1975) FRCP(1991)

Chiramel Jose Paul was a consultant dermatologist in Birmingham for 25 years. He was born in Trichur, Kerala, south India, the sixth of seven children born to Avaran Jacob Paul and Kunjila Paul. It was a very happy home and he said he never knew about strife or violence until he went to secondary school. His father was a primary school headmaster who taught English, and Paul had a lifelong love of English literature and poetry. In later life, he visited the Lake District to visit Grasmere and Wordsworth’s home. He was educated at Tharakans High School, Trichur, and then Kerala University, Trivandrum, where he studied medicine. He gained his MB BS in 1969.

After his internship at the medical college hospitals, he worked for the government as a state medical officer. He lived on the ocean shore behind which were the Keralan backwaters, a network of rivers and lakes. He said he once had to visit a patient by canoe! He saw a lot of tropical disease, TB and poverty.

In 1968 he went to England, firstly to the Victoria Hospital in Accrington and then to the very busy Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow. In 1971 he became a senior house officer and later a registrar in dermatology there. Some of his friends went to America, but he wanted a career in dermatology and stayed in Britain. He had a supportive consultant and worked hard. In those days, colour prejudice was prevalent and the consultant, who was an English aristocrat, defended him against it.

Paul passed the MRCP in 1975 and there was a party to celebrate. He moved to Birmingham to become a senior registrar at the Skin Hospital, and in 1980 was appointed as a consultant to the Birmingham and Sandwell hospitals. In 1991 he was elected as a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

He was particularly interested in psoriasis and did some research into epidermal glycoproteins. He was a senior lecturer at Birmingham University medical school.

Paul was very polite, gentle and well-spoken. He inspired a lot of loyalty among his friends. He did not criticise others, a rare quality, and was genuinely interested in his patients and enjoyed talking to them. His clinics were very big.

He enjoyed all sport, but especially cricket, which he had followed since medical school days. He could explain the obscure Duckworth-Lewis rules! In 1985 he became a doctor for the Edgbaston cricket team, a role he held for several years and he enjoyed this period of his life very much.

In 2005 Paul unfortunately became a patient himself, but was operated on by a vascular surgeon at the City Hospital, Birmingham, and a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Priory Hospital, Edgbaston, and was grateful to be given another ten precious years.

He knew all the Keralan traditions. He travelled when he could to visit his brother and sisters and to see his classmates at the medical school reunions, however, he also loved Britain. He was all that was best in a hospital consultant and was a credit to his profession.

Elizabeth Morgan

(Volume XII, page web)

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