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Malcolm Brock made EF Gordon professor at top US hospital

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Dr. Malcolm Brock

A family story of how EF Gordon, a civil rights hero and doctor, saved the life of five-year-old Mansfield “Jim” Brock inspired Mr Brock’s son to study medicine.

The 83-year-old story came full circle when last month Malcolm Brock was appointed the EF Gordon Professor of Thoracic Surgery at the world-famous Johns Hopkins University Medical School.

Dr Brock’s appointment to the chair was made possible by anonymous donors in Bermuda who endowed the position at what is considered to be the best medical school and hospital in the world.

Dr Brock, who graduated as a physician from Johns Hopkins in 1991 and continued his career there as a physician and professor, said he first heard the story of how Dr Gordon saved his father’s life from his grandfather.

He told the Johns Hopkins Cutting Edge magazine: “Dr Gordon was a brilliant diagnostician.

“That story stayed in my mind as I went through school.”

Dr Brock’s grandfather Mansfield Brock Sr, owned a barbers shop where Dr Gordon debated politics on a regular basis.

When his son’s condition mystified other doctors, a desperate Mr Brock Sr took him to Dr Gordon.

The magazine said Dr Gordon drained an infected abscess on the five-year-old – at a time before antibiotics – and then treated the resulting sepsis with homemade medication created in his private laboratory.

Mr Brock said yesterday: “Dr Gordon may be best known for his endeavours in human rights, but he was a brilliant doctor and a master of diagnosis.

“My daddy took me to him after several other doctors had misdiagnosed my condition. Now it has come full circle.”

Dr Brock added: “Dr. Gordon, who had gone to such an eminent medical school, the University of Edinburgh, eventually found his place within little Bermuda, and then used his creativity to save my dad’s life.

“I am honoured to be associated with the name of Dr EF Gordon. He learned empathy from his work as a physician, and that directly informed his activism. I am driven by that same desire to make life better for those who are less fortunate.”

Mr Brock went on to a distinguished career as the founding CEO of Bermuda College, Permanent Secretary of Education and Finance and was later successful in business.

Dr Brock, who attended Warwick Academy, Bermuda College and earned a Rotary scholarship to study in Japan where he taught himself to speak fluent Japanese and earned a black belt in judo.

He graduated from the Ivy League Princeton University and pursued a Master of Letters in East Asian studies as a Rhodes scholar.

He went on to earn an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1991 and completed a general surgery residency and a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at the university hospital.

A professor of surgery and oncology as well as environmental health sciences at The Johns Hopkins University, Dr Brock has been awarded honours, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bermuda Healthcare Foundation and the prestigious James IV Association of Surgeons Award, which included visiting professorships to medical schools in China, Japan, France and South Africa.

He is a member of several US medical societies and until recently was president of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons.

Support from the endowed professorship will significantly advance Dr Brock’s research, which includes developing new molecular biomarkers to diagnose cancer earlier.

His work also includes looking for a possible genetic association for excessive sweating and other disorders of the nervous system.

Mansfield Brock, a 1993 Fellow and the college’s first chief executive officer, accepts a honorary fellowship of the Bermuda College on behalf of his son Dr Malcolm Brock.

Dr Gordon is regarded as the father of the labour movement in Bermuda, and his work was critical to the end of segregation on the island and the creation of a modern democracy.

Dame Pamela Gordon-Banks, his daughter, was Bermuda’s first woman Premier.

Patricia Gordon Pamplin, another daughter, was as a Cabinet Minister between 2012 and 2017.

His granddaughter, Moira Stuart, was the second African-Caribbean woman newsreader to appear on British television where she started presenting the BBC news in 1981.

For the full Cutting Edge feature, click here.

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Published December 14, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 13, 2020 at 6:27 pm)

Malcolm Brock made EF Gordon professor at top US hospital

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