Alumni engagement and philanthropy

Dr Edward W Knox (died 13 January 2018)

Obituary provided by Robert Stout, Professor Emeritus of Geriatric Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr Edward (Eddie) Knox, the last surviving member of the first generation of specialists in Geriatric Medicine in Northern Ireland, died in January.  

He made a great contribution to establishing high standards of care for older people, in the early stages working in some poor accommodation and with inadequate staff. He was born in 5 August 1924 and brought up above his father’s grocer’s shop just off the Shankill Road, Belfast. 

He qualified in medicine in Queen’s University Belfast in 1947, and, after a year as a house officer in the Downe Hospital, Downpatrick, he spent three years in general practice in Kilkeel, Co Down. He then entered hospital training in chest medicine, becoming MRCPI in 1955 and in 1961 obtaining his MD with commendation for a thesis entitled “Chronic bronchitis in the Waterside District of Londonderry”. At that time, successful treatment for tuberculosis reduced the need for specialists in chest medicine and he changed his career plans. In 1961-62 he was a fellow in peripheral vascular disease in the Postgraduate Hospital of the University of Philadelphia.

Returning to Northern Ireland, he continued his Senior Registrar training in general and geriatric medicine and was appointed Consultant in Geriatric Medicine to the Ulster and North Down Hospitals in 1967. Dr Knox was a single-handed consultant responsible for 340 beds in five hospitals, including a newly built general hospital, a former workhouse, a community hospital and a converted large country house, as well as a day hospital, outpatient clinics, and a domiciliary service.

Dr Knox was a skilful, caring and conscientious doctor and was held in the highest respect and great affection by his colleagues, patients and their families, and friends. He provided excellent treatment and care to older people in East Belfast and North Down and kept up to date with developments in the care of older people. In addition to his busy clinical commitments, he taught medical students from Queen’s University throughout his career. He became FRCPI in 1968 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal of the British Geriatrics Society in 1987. He retired in 1984. In his retirement, he continued his interest in his family and in the Irish countryside. His wife, Mabel, died three months before him. He leaves three sons and one deceased son, and seven grandchildren.

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