I was saddened to see the obituary of Prof Terry Hamblin in the paper today, his death occurring at the early age of 68. His name as a haematologist was still in the air at Poole Hospital when I started my medical career there, whence he had recentlydeparted to become the consultant at Bournemouth. Incidentally the Poole haematology department itself was run by Jeremy Lee-Potter, husband of Lynda Lee-Potter the journalist, and the long-haired technician with whom I dealt most, “Rog”, had not only played bass in a band with Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame, but had discovered no less than two rare varieties of haemoglobin.
But as for Terry, I actually knew him not directly through medicine, but because we were both columnists in the celebrated, but now long defunct, magazine World Medicine. I have to say it was one of my proudest moments when, word of my former involvement coming to light on a medical forum a few years ago, a respondent simply replied, “World Medicine? Respect!”
Terry wrote not only on medical matters, but as an Evangelical Christian, which made us somewhat comrades in arms in a magazine broadly left of centre and anti-establishment. Terry was even a Creationist, as I remember, which I was not – but that didn’t seem to be a barrier. It was less of a political issue then anyway.
I met him just once in connection with another magazine, The Physician, which was launched around 1981 by an ex-World Medicine journalist and held a rather nice dinner for its founding writers at the Café Royal in London. We had a pleasant evening of conversation about journalism and theology – and even medicine might have got a mention. I can’t remember – the wine was good.
It’s good to know that he went on to do rather more groundbreaking work than I did, and it’s maybe significant that his development of “cancer vaccines” demonstrates that some things in biology definitely do make sense apart from evolution. They even make sense in the light of Creationism.