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Inaugural Memorial Lecture: Elliot Philipp FRCS FRCOG

The First Elliot Philipp Memorial lecture was held at The Royal Society of Medicine on Monday 23rd May.

The subject of the lecture was “Medical Ethics: Dilemmas at the start of life”. The key lecturers were Baroness Ruth Deech and Professor Raanan Gillon and the evening was chaired by Lord Woolf.. All three spoke movingly about Elliot Philipp, who had died at the age of 95 in September 2010. He was an eminent gynaecologist who had a special interest in medical Ethics.

Baroness Deech, who was previously Chair of the The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, covered both the legal and medical aspects covering the dilemmas as well as many of the developments over the last few years, particularly since the first IVF baby was conceived. This included the different problems linked to embryos and the definition of when life starts as well as the benefits as well as the pitfalls of scientific development. She indicated many of the legal as well as moral problems linked to these developments. Professor Raanan Gillon, Emeritus Professor of medical Ethics concentrated on the philosophical and moral aspects of the aspects linked to conception and the development of the baby both before and after birth. He used comments from various writings of Elliot to illustrate his talk.

This was followed by a lively discussion chaired by Lord Woolf with contributions from many of the audience of 120 which included a large number of eminent medical and legal experts. The evening ended with a vote of thanks from Professor Michael Baum

Commenting on the evening Alan Philipp, son of Elliot and treasurer and trustee of the British Friends of the Hebrew University commented

“My father was a passionate about encouraging young medical students into the profession, I envisage this memorial lecture becoming an annual event and hope to raise funds in support of medical scholarships at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for whom Elliot was an Associate Governor for many years”.

Left to right: Alan Philipp (Treasurer and Trustee British Friends of the Hebrew University, Professor Raanan Gillon, Baroness Ruth Deech, Lord Woolf.

Left to right: Baroness Ruth Deech, Lord Woolf, Prof Raanan Gillon 

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