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Neil Harrison Cox

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 03 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2891
  1. Colin Munro

    Neil Cox was a precocious student at Leeds Grammar School, taking A levels two years early. He went on to qualify in medicine at Liverpool University, having taken 1st class honours for his BSc in cell biology. From boyhood he was also an avid collector of stamps, for example, and of fossils or small animal bones and skulls. With the training in visual skills these hobbies encouraged, it is perhaps not surprising that, among all of the medical specialties, he was drawn to dermatology. In this field his acute eye and prodigious memory made him one of the most outstanding clinical dermatologists of his time.

    Neil trained in dermatology in Liverpool, Glasgow, and Newcastle. Even as a junior registrar, his diagnostic expertise exceeded that of some of his supervising consultants, who having presented him with an unusual case on one day, would find a fully referenced case report on their desk the following morning. In the Newcastle department under Sam Shuster, rigorous measurement of skin physiology was prized over taxonomic niceties. Nonetheless, Neil impressed by his ability not only to recognise a rare entity at the weekly clinical meeting but to reach for the exact volume of the journal in which it was previously described.

    He used to worry that his inability to resist an informative case report had diverted him from pursuing a narrower programme …

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