Samuel Berman was born in London, the son of Lewis Berman, a tobacco manufacturer, and his wife, Rebecca, the daughter of Samuel Delow, a merchant. His early education was at the Normal College School in Capetown, South Africa. His medical school was Guy’s Hospital from which he qualified in 1924. He did postgraduate work in neurology until 1930, mainly at the National Hospital, Queen Square, where he was house physician to Kinnier Wilson.
In 1931, when he had settled in practice in Capetown, he was appointed registrar to the department of neurology and psychiatry at the Somerset Hospital, and when the hospital teaching department was moved to the Groote Schuur Hospital he became in turn assistant physician in 1938 and full physician in 1948. In 1951 he gave up private practice and was elected head of the neuro-psychiatry department and senior physician of the medical school of the University of Capetown.
His department became a model for administration and accuracy of clinical detail. In other words Berman was the highly trained and precise technician, who commanded the respect and admiration of his colleagues, rather than the research worker. But above all he was the humane physician, who devoted himself to the rehabilitation of every neurological cripple with a persistence that impressed every student even more than the soundness of his diagnoses and his intellectual integrity.
Berman did not marry.
Richard R Trail
[Cape Times, 25 Mar. 1963; Lancet, 1963, 1, 956.]