Lives of the fellows

William Edwin Basil Edge

b.25 September 1923 d.8 June 2007
MB BCh Wits MRCP DCH DObst RCOG FRCP(1975) BA

William Edwin Basil Edge was a paediatrician in Durban, South Africa. He was born in Witbank, the son of Arthur Edwin Edge, a mining engineer. He was educated at St John’s College, Johannesburg, and then attended Witwatersrand University. He interrupted his studies for two years to serve in the Second World War and qualified in 1947.

He was a house surgeon and house physician in Johannesburg. He then went to the UK, where he gained his MRCP, a diploma in child health and a diploma in obstetrics from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. In 1951 he worked as a resident surgeon at the American Hospital of Paris.

He returned to South Africa, where he worked as a paediatric registrar under Harry Wallace at Addington Hospital in Durban. In 1958 he went into private practice as a paediatrician and was also a part-time lecturer at the University of Natal.

During his career he was the first to ventilate a neonate in South Africa and to do kidney biopsies on children. He also developed the world’s first neonatal respiratory alarm monitor.

When the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa was established in 1954, he became one of the founders of the College of Paediatricians.

He was the author of several books, including Your child: a modern comprehensive and authoritative guide for parents (Cape Town, Juta, 1976) and Encyclopaedia of child care for Southern Africa (Cape Town, David Philip, 1986). He also received the Hamilton Maynard memorial award for his essay ‘Some paediatric fables, foibles and sheer bad habits’, published in the South African Medical Journal (S Afr Med J. 1985 Jun 22;67[25]:1010-2).

He was president of the Natal coastal branch of the Medical Association of South Africa and was awarded the meritorious service award in 1991 and life membership in 1992.

Outside medicine, he enjoyed climbing in the Drakensberg mountains. During his retirement he studied for a BA degree. He also established the University of the Third Age in Durban and became the first president of the local branch.

In 1951 he married Suzanne Marie-Antoinette. They had three children – Francine, Marion and Phillip.

RCP editor

[The South African Medical Journal November 2007, Vol.97, No.11, p.1052 www.samj.org.za/index.php/samj/article/viewFile/366/328 – accessed 9 November 2016]

(Volume XII, page web)

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