Erlik, David

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ERLIK, DAVID (1909–1995), Israeli physician, one of the founders of modern surgery in Israel. Erlik was born in Pinsk, Russia, in 1909. His family came to Palestine in 1924 and settled in Haifa. From 1928 to 1935 he studied medicine in Strasbourg, France. In 1936 Erlik was accepted for a residency in Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, where he spent the next dozen years training in general surgical techniques. In 1948 he was asked by Israel's Ministry of Health to put together the surgical department at the abandoned British Mandatory Hospital in Haifa, by then renamed Rambam Hospital. As its chief of surgery for over 30 years, Erlik was instrumental in making Rambam the major medical center in northern Israel, including the successful association between the Haifa Technion and Rambam's medical school, which opened its doors in 1969.

Erlik was a pioneer and innovator of surgical procedures involving the blood vessels in the abdomen and kidneys. In 1966 he carried out the first kidney transplant in Israel, and under his stewardship Rambam became the leading transplant center in the country. Erlik created a surgical standard of excellence with which he imbued the next generations of surgeons in Israel.

Erlik was awarded the Israel Prize in life sciences in 1992.


M. Hashmonai, "David Erlik (1909–1995) – A Founder of Surgery in Modern Israel," in: Digestive Surgery, 21 (2004), 447–51.

[Ruth Rossing (2nd ed.)]