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Biographical entry Vick, Reginald Martin (1884 - 1971)

OBE; TD; MRCS 1908; FRCS 1912; MCh Cambridge 1913; LRCP 1908.

Born
20 July 1884
West Hartlepool
Died
18 December 1971
Occupation
General surgeon

Details

Reginald Martin Vick was born on 20 July 1884 at West Hartlepool, and was educated at Leys School and Jesus College, Cambridge, and came to St Bartholomew's Hospital for his clinical studies. He qualified with the Conjoint Diploma in 1908, and after house appointment at Bart's became a demonstrator of pathology, as a step towards the Fellowship which he obtained in 1912. He became an assistant surgeon to the Hospital in 1913, and took the Cambridge MChir the same year.

Service in the RAMC then intervened, and during the first world war he was in France and Salonika, and from 1917 to 1919 he was in charge of a surgical division in the BEF, was four times mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the OBE. On demobilization in 1919 he returned to St Bartholomew's to spend the greater part of the rest of his professional life in intimate association with the hospital, its staff, its patients and its students.

Vick was appointed warden of the Residential College in 1920, the fourteenth in succession to James Paget, and the last warden of the College in Little Britain. He was thus given his first great opportunity of influencing students, yet this influence was not limited to the men resident in the College, for many of those returning from war service came to him for advice about their future careers, and had reason to be grateful to him for it. The warden-ship lasted for 15 years.

He was a popular teacher of undergraduates and postgraduates who appreciated the clarity of his methods, based upon his earlier work in pathology, and also the amusing stories which were used to fix facts in the memories of his class. But they learned most from his example, his sympathetic concern for nervous, shy or frightened patients, and his methods of giving them confidence and reassurance. He was above all an intensely warm-hearted and friendly person, and this characteristic was expressed by the leading part he played in the Cambridge Bart's Club, and as secretary of his own contemporary "Decennial" Club.

Vick was also surgeon to St Andrew's Hospital, Dollis Hill, and consulting surgeon to Bromley Hospital, Walton-on-Thames Cottage Hospital, and Crowborough and Bexhill Hospitals. During the second world war he served in the EMS as officer in charge of the surgical division at Friern Hospital. He was a valued member of the Court of Examiners at the College of Surgeons.

He was already 68 when he was invited to undertake the direction of the Cancer Bureau in the South Western Region which had been started in 1947 by Professor Rendle-Short of Bristol, and which Vick continued and extended from 1952 till 1965. He and his wife lived at intervals in either Bristol or Plymouth while he toured the whole region, appealing personally to the hospital staffs to make their cancer records complete and therefore statistically reliable. During his 12 years in office he had the satisfaction of approaching close to 100 per cent registration, and his annual reports were therefore worthwhile contributions to cancer research and a fitting reward for his devoted labour. He also contributed two articles to the British medical journal describing the organization of such a cancer survey.

Vick was over 80 when he gave up that cancer work, and it was only gradually that arthritis interfered with his full and active enjoyment of life. He died on 18 December 1971, and his wife, whom he married in 1920, and their four daughters survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit Med J 1972, 1, 55].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England