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Varazad Melikian (“Vic") m 1959


Former Consultant Physician, Dudley Road (City) Hospital, Birmingham (b 24 February 1931, q London 1959,MB ChB; FRCP, FRCPE) d 16 November 2006)


Vic Melikian was born to into an Armenian family in Abadan, Iran where his father was an engineer for the Anglo-Iranian oil company. Following schooling in Abadan where he excelled in sport especially swimming, Vic was sent to England to train as doctor. After medical school at University College Hospital where he enjoyed rugby and gained a prize in surgery, he did his house jobs at Nottingham General Hospital and then moved on to SHO and registrar posts in Nottingham and at Sheffield Royal Infirmary. During this time he gained a huge clinical experience in general medicine, gastroenterology and clinical haematology.


In 1969, he moved to Birmingham where he was to spend the rest of his life. He was appointed senior registrar in medicine and spent time at Dudley Road (now City) Hospital working for Dr Alex Paton and at the General Hospital working for Dr Trevor Cooke.


Vic’s charm coupled with his clinical acumen and hard work won over these distinguished physicians who were well known for demanding the highest standards in their junior staff and for not tolerating the second rate.


Vic was appointed Consultant Physician to Dudley Road Hospital in 1972, specialising in gastroenterology and clinical haematology, as well as performing general medical duties. As a result he had a huge work load which would not be allowed in today’s job plans. Although he thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of clinical haematology, it was realised that the work load was unreasonable and after ten years he concentrated on gastroenterology.


In collaboration with Alex Paton and surgical colleagues especially Professor Peter Bevan, Vic developed gastroenterology services at Dudley Road hospital and set up the endoscopy unit. Despite his interest in specialist medicine, Vic was always interested in medicine in its broadest sense. He was a superb physician and remained committed to the general medical take and the whole variety of patients that could be admitted. He felt that any specialist physician worth his salt should have a good grounding in general medicine.


He regarded the acute take as a marvellous teaching opportunity for students and junior doctors. He was proud of the fact that consultant physicians at Dudley Road Hospital always did post take ward rounds, long before the practice became expected everywhere.


Vic was a larger than life character who had tremendous enthusiasm for medicine which he was able to transmit not only to students and doctors but also to fellow hospital professionals, to other hospital staff and to patients. He was very popular with patients for whom nothing was too much trouble.


He was very much the good Samaritan who would go out of his way to help patients or colleagues. He was fondly remembered by patients who continued to ask about him long after he retired in 1996. But it was on medical students and junior doctors that Vic made the greatest impression. Vic was a great supporter of Birmingham Medical School and a tireless worker on behalf of generations on Birmingham medical students and junior doctors for whom he was an enthusiastic and effective teacher as well as a source of inspiration. Junior posts on his firm were always highly sought after. Once a junior doctor had worked for him and had made the grade, Vic was fiercely loyal to and protective of that doctor for the rest of their career.


Vic was held in high regard by his colleagues in the West Midlands region, who elected him President of the West Midlands Physicians Association, President of the Midlands Gastroenterological Society and Regional Advisor for the Royal College

of Physicians. He was a great supporter of the College and encouraged young physicians to get involved in its activities. He was heavily involved with the MRCP examination as examiner, exam host and organizer of courses for the exam.


Vic had an interest in and fascination for medicine which lasted until his death, but he had other interests: classical music, opera, walking and politics. However his other major enthusiasm was for his family. He was proud of his Armenian roots and he was delighted to be able to visit Armenia for the first time in 2001.


He is survived by his wife, Florence (née Wilkinson), an anaesthetist who he met in Nottingham and whom he married in 1970, a daughter (an anaesthetic trainee with MRCP{UK}), a son and three grandchildren. Vic had a passion for life so it was tragic that his last years were blighted by the malignant disease that finally killed him. Many thought that against all the odds, Vic would beat his illness because he had such a determination to get better. Sadly, it was not to be.



Brian Cooper

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