Arthur Leslie Bloom held a special place in the affections of haematologists worldwide for the way in which his outstanding clinical abilities and insight into biological mechanisms were conveyed to his students and colleagues - with simplicity, clarity and gentle common sense.
He was born in Merthyr Tydfil where his father, Abraham Bloom, was a pharmacist. After early education at Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School, he entered Sheffield University to study medicine. After graduation, house jobs were followed by the ritual of National Service m the RAF and it was 1955 before he returned from East Africa to resume his career. The crucial event was his appointment in 1956 to the haemophilia centre in Oxford during the pioneering days of R G MacFarlane [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.303] Rosemary Biggs and Alan Sharp [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.528]. From this point, he never deviated in his dedication to problems of blood coagulation and their clinical importance.
In 1960 he was appointed to the pathology department in the Welsh National School of Medicine and thereafter remained in Cardiff. His interests quickly developed into a close collaboration with the cardiac surgical team at Sully Hospital where his elucidation of the problems of the extra-corporeal circulation - both in sheep and man -resulted in the first of a long series of brilliant publications. His work was always directed to exploring biological mechanisms along a route that had continuing benefits for the care of patients. In 1966 he took over the directorship of the Cardiff Haemophilia Centre from Harold Scarborough [Munk's Roll, Vol.VIII, p.439] and in the ensuing years his meticulous scientific work and dedication to his patients made the centre one of the finest in Europe, with an international reputation for excellence.
He was consistently in the forefront in his development of treatment protocols using the new purified coagulation factors, in his research into their molecular structure and his grapplings with the problems of carrier detection, and in ante-natal screening and counselling. He was appointed to a personal chair in the University of Wales in 1976, in recognition of his outstanding contribution.
His lucid lectures on the increasing complexity of the coagulation cascade were always a pleasure to hear and it was not surprising that, in recent years, he was called on to deal with the legal sequelae of the HIV problem in haemophiliacs, to which he devoted much time and energy. He was a past president of the British Society of Haematology and of the British and International Societies of Haemostasis and Thrombosis, which reflected the respect and affection of his colleagues.
Perhaps Arthur’s most fortunate appointment, early in his career, was a brief attachment to the medical school in Leeds where he met Jane Corcoran. He married her in 1960 and became the happy family man who was inseparable from the haematologist.
[The Independent, 26 Nov 1992; Bull.Roy.Coll Path., Apr 1993,82,p.8]