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Biographical entry Jacobson, Jack ( - 1995)

MRCS and FRCS 1952; MB BCh Cape Town 1942.

6 October 1995
General surgeon and Transplant surgeon


Jack Jacobson qualified MB BCh Cape Town in 1942. After completing his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital, he served as a captain in the South African Medical Corps between 1943 and 1946. He then made the decision to embark on a career in surgery and after a period of postgraduate training at Guy's Hospital in London and the Peace Memorial Hospital in Watford, he obtained his FRCS in 1952. His love of southern Africa brought him back in 1953 and after a short period as senior registrar in surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital, he entered into surgical practice in south west Africa, now Namibia. While in Namibia (1957 and 1975) he achieved prominence as the consultant surgeon in the Namibian State Hospitals and as a founder member of the Namibian Blood Transfusion Service, and he was elected President of the Namibian Medical Association.

He returned to Cape Town in 1976 and worked in the Clinical Science and Immunology Department at the University of Cape Town. He then turned to renal transplantation - which he continued to do until he retired at the end of 1991. Jacobson was responsible for the establishment of the Transplant Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital as it is today.

The unit is one of the foremost transplant centres in the country, and Jacobson's contribution to transplantation in South Africa was acknowledged in 1984 when he was elected as President of the Southern African Transplantation Society.

An obituary compiled by members of Cape Town University's Renal Unit states that: 'Jack was dearly loved by his patients. Nothing was too much for him when it came to caring for his patients and he always went that extra mile to help them. He was mentor to many an aspirant surgeon, giving sound advice and guidance. His quiet and unassuming manner was a comfort to all who worked with him. He epitomised all the qualities of a gentleman.'

He died on 6 October 1995 in Vancouver, survived by his wife Marjorie and children, Lewis and Michele.

Sources used to compile this entry: [S Afr Med J 1996, 86, 579].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England