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Two types of neurologist: remembering Michael Kremer and Roger Gilliatt
  1. Oliver Sacks
  1. Correspondence to Oliver Sacks, NYU School of Medicine, 2 Horatio St. #3G, New York, NY 10014, USA; kate.edgar{at}

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After physiology finals at Oxford, I went on to begin my clinical training at the Middlesex Hospital. The Radcliffe Infirmary could accommodate only a dozen or so medical students, and it was felt that one could see a wider range of patients in a London hospital. The Middlesex Hospital—despite its name—was not in Middlesex, but in central London, equidistant from Oxford Circus, Regent's Park and Soho. It was one of the great London hospitals (figure 1), with a very high reputation, even though it lacked the antiquity of ‘Barts’—St Bartholomew's—a hospital dating back to the twelfth century and refounded 400 years later by Henry VIII. My older brother, David, had been a medical student at Barts; my eldest brother, Marcus, at the Middlesex, a newcomer founded in 1745 but housed, in my day, in a modern building from the late 1920s.

Figure 1

The Middlesex Hospital in the 1960s.

I qualified in 1958, did a 6-month house job on the medical unit at the Middlesex, and then another 6 months on the neurological unit, where my chiefs were Drs Michael Kremer and Roger Gilliatt (figures 2–4), a brilliant but almost comically incongruous pair. Kremer was always genial, affable, suave. He had an odd, slightly twisted smile, whether from an habitually ironical view of the world or the residue of an old Bell's palsy, I was never sure. He seemed to have all the time in the world for his housemen and his patients.

Figure 2

Michael Kremer.

Figure 3

Roger Gilliatt.

Figure 4

Consultant staff of the National Hospital, Queen Square, 1960. Michael Kremer is fifth from the left in the middle row and Roger Gilliatt is fifth from …

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