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Harold Lambert

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 27 October 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4995
  1. Roger Higgs

The profession needs its physicians to be clever, but the public expects them to be kind; while students respect the clear and patient communicator. Harold Lambert as clinical consultant and first professor of microbial diseases at St George’s Hospital Medical School was all these things and more. Although he retired as the internet was being created, doctors’ blogs testify to his influence; and when a web company interviewing leading scientific thinkers at the millennium were looking for a leading British doctor to interview, they were correctly directed to Harold.

He became consultant in 1963, at a time of widespread change in medicine. As powerful antibiotics began to be introduced, the defeat of infections and even the possibility of their ultimate disappearance then made these diseases seem like yesterday’s research subjects. But as a student at University College Hospital, Harold had witnessed the death of George Orwell from tuberculosis, among so many others, and saw things differently. Always fascinated by the mechanisms of disease, he realised that infectious diseases were still …

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