On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.99 n.2 Cape Town Feb. 2009
David Levy (1927 - 2008)
David Levy qualified in medicine from UCT in 1950. After obtaining his early postgraduate experience in Bulawayo (in what was then Southern Rhodesia), he went on to study in the UK where he obtained his MCRP in 1955 while working as a junior doctor in Epping. He returned to South Africa and after completing his training as a Medical Registrar at Groote Schuur Hospital and moved to Port Elizabeth, where he became a much loved and respected physician.
I met him when I went into general practice in Port Elizabeth in 1967. He stimulated my interest in internal medicine. For a year I worked closely with him as a 'registrar' running a general medical ward at the Provincial Hospital. I was guided and greatly influenced by him. David was a soft-spoken, knowledgeable and very thorough physician who cared for his patients with the exemplary manner typical of the best of our profession. Although firm he never forced his view on anyone but was always able and willing to quietly support his medical decisions with reference to the literature. My time working with him was among the best of my training experiences.
David moved to the UK in the early 1980s to follow a career in geriatrics. His contributions are well described by a previous president of the British Geriatric Society (1996 - 1998) with whom David had worked in partnership in Bolton UK. (BGS Newsletter December 2008 http://www.bgsnet.org.uk/dec08/10_memoriam.html). Dr Banerjee describes David as 'A superb clinician, an excellent teacher, a researcher with an analytical mind, he soon became an asset to the department and to the whole elderly care service. Most importantly, it was his gentle nature and genial disposition that charmed everyone - patients, staff, colleagues and indeed, the community at large. David soon got involved in the ongoing research projects in the department and set up his own "new" study on assessing kidney function in older people - resulted in high-quality publications in the Quarterly Journal of Medicine among others. He made an enormous contribution to the service development and educating people on the importance of "early" and "acute" intervention in disease of old age. With Coakley and Lye, he published a small book on acute geriatric medicine. David was deeply interested in his patients and he used to "fight" the adversities and service inadequacies; he could be very firm and assertive when necessary.'
Over subsequent years my admiration for his achievements in the UK and my affection for him intensified despite the physical distance between us. David's sudden and unexpected death on 9 September 2008 was a great loss to all who knew and loved him. He is survived by Shirley, his devoted wife and companion, and three children Ruth, Cathy and Philip.