Bertram Bradlow decided at a young age to follow a career in medicine and became part of a pioneering generation of cardiologists working in South Africa in the fifties. He also developed a separate interest and expertise in life insurance medicine. He was born in South Africa, the son of a business man, and was educated at King Edward VII School, Johannesburg, before going on to study medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Johannesburg General Hospital. After completing house physician and house surgeon appointments at Johannesburg General Hospital, he spent the war years as an assistant in a mining practice. He then entered general practice in Johannesburg. Set on specializing in internal medicine, he accepted a post as tutorial registrar in the department of medicine at Johannesburg General Hospital in 1951. At this time cardiology was emerging as a new highly developed specialty, and Bradlow acquired considerable experience and specialist training by working as an active member of the cardiac clinic at the Johannesburg General Hospital between 1951 and 1953. He entered private practice in Johannesburg in October 1953 and continued until 1993, albeit only part time since 1983.
Despite being busily occupied in private practice, he continued with his academic activities, working as a part time second medical assistant to the department of medicine, University of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg General Hospital. He was an active senior member of the cardiac clinic of this hospital from October 1953 to September 1970, when he was forced to retire from hospital work due to indifferent health.
Despite his full commitment to clinical medicine which occupied most of his time, he still found time and energy to participate in numerous research projects and co-authored over fifty articles. He wrote two books, Cardiac emergencies: diagnosis and treatment, London, Butterworths, 1963, and How to produce a readable electrocardiogram, Springfield, Charter C Thomas, 1964.
Early in his career in private practice Bradlow developed an interest in insurance medicine and later in his life this became his prime medical interest. He held several appointments as medical consultant to various life insurance companies, the most prominent being the Swiss-South African Reassurance Company. He served as chief medical consultant to this company from May 1956 until 1983, but continued as a consultant with several other life insurance companies until his retirement. He served on the editorial board of Annals of Life Insurance Medicine from 1962 until his retirement. Throughout his career he showed an interest in teaching, lecturing to undergraduate and postgraduate students, nurses and both medical and lay insurance underwriters.
With his commitment to his medical activities, he left himself little time for leisure, but enjoyed his once or twice weekly round of golf which he continued until two years before his death.
M M Zion