Lives of the fellows

Donald Maitland Davies

b.10 August 1916 d.17 October 1991
MB ChB Leeds(1940) MD(l943) MRCP(1948) FRCP(1971)

Donald Maitland Davies was born in Middleton, Manchester, during the first world war. The first two years of his life were spent in Scotland where his father was serving in the Royal Artillery. After the war his family returned to Manchester and Donald received his education at Manchester Grammar School. Following the subsequent move of his family to Bradford, he entered medical school at Leeds University. He was a keen sportsman but found it difficult to hit stationary objects. He did achieve considerable success in tennis, as well as cricket and lacrosse, even gaining University colours in the latter.

After qualification he held junior posts in Leeds and Huddersfield until 1941. He then joined the RAMC and was commissioned in 1942. Glandular fever prevented an overseas posting but gave him an opportunity to obtain an MD. He spent the last period of his military service at Millbank Military Hospital until his release, with the rank of major, in 1946. He returned to civilian life as a registrar at Leeds General Infirmary and in 1948 he became senior registrar at Hope Hospital in Salford, Manchester.

In 1949, Donald Davies was appointed to be first consultant physician to Bury and Rossendale Hospital management committee, a consultant surgeon being appointed at the same time. Before that time there had been no consultants nor had any of the beds been strictly medical. Donald found himself responsible for 400 beds, including medicine, geriatrics, paediatrics and psychiatry. Further consultant appointments in 1951 relieved him of responsibilities in the latter two areas but it was not until 1954 that another physician joined him to share the general medical and geriatric burden.

Over the next quarter of a century Donald Davies built up a reputation over a large area of industrial Lancashire, north of Manchester, as a good diagnostician with a kind and humane approach to his patients. He served on the hospital management committee and other health committees and became chairman of the regional consultants organization.

Donald had many hobbies which he pursued with great enthusiasm at different times. His model train set and its display were the envy of many model railway enthusiasts. Large tropical fish tanks were full of exotic varieties. He remained a keen fly fisherman until deteriorating health made it too exhausting. He then took to wood carving and produced a large collection of wooden soldiers in different uniforms. Painting in water colours and oils became another interest, with many pleasing results.

His faith in the care of patients within the NHS was amply demonstrated when, in the last years of his service, when he needed a major operation involving an aortic graft at the bifurcation, he persuaded the surgeon to admit him to a general ward rather than to a private one. He enjoyed a further 11 years of active and fertile life. During this period he sat on the Medical Appeal Tribunal once or twice a week, where he was well liked by all, including the appellants who appreciated his dovish attitude.

He had married Winifred Mary Haigh in 1942, when she was a final year medical student. They had four children, three sons and a daughter. The eldest son followed his father’s footsteps into medicine and now practises in Canada; the second became an accountant and the third became a dentist. His daughter, the youngest child, entered the Army as a teacher.

S Lal

(Volume IX, page 116)

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