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Editor,—The obituaries of three physicians, Ambrose King, Eric Dunlop, and David Oriel, appeared in quick succession in your columns.
By the time I started training in venereology, as it was then called (not a bad name incidentally because it means the science of the act of love which encompasses STIs, colposcopy, HIV disease, and sexual dysfunction) at the Whitechapel Clinic of the London Hospital in 1973 Ambrose King had already left. However, the clinic still sparkled (not physically you understand) from his inspirational radiance and he was spoken of in hushed, reverential tones.
Eric Dunlop was the senior physician at that time. To a very junior doctor he was literally an awe inspiring figure. By today's standards he did not educate or teach. Rather you were well aware that he had laid a “golden egg” and that there was a touch of colour and brilliance in his research work and lectures. I was taught basic day to day venereology by the senior charge nurses at that department. Eric Dunlop's meticulousness was legendary. We took nine specimens from each woman to screen for Chlamydia trachomatis (including three cervical curettings) and a cervical biopsy. The purpose built Dunlop-Jones male urethral curette was a most efficient method of obtaining chlamydial material, although its contemporaneous thalamic overstimulation did not endear it to the patients. This meticulousness transferred itself to one's own attitude to research, and many of us also aspired to achieve Eric Dunlop's larger than life persona and facility for developing newer ideas (never really worked for me!).
I later worked for David Oriel. He made advances by quietly yet relentlessly pushing away at the broad front of research and clinical medicine. He was attracted by many of the sensible, practical, therapeutic approaches of our American colleagues—for example, benzathine penicillin for syphilis, doxycycline for chlamydia, which were far from routinely practised in the United Kingdom at that time. David Oriel also insisted on each set of clinical notes being audited on a daily basis. This was in 1978, well before clinical audit became routine.
Both Eric Dunlop and David Oriel were wholly generous and encouraging to a young physician whose clinical practice, research ideas, and papers didn't always make a lot of sense.
I grieve for their loss but I am grateful that I worked for these two great venereologists.