Lives of the fellows

Herbert Hylton Hyland

b.3 November 1900 d.1 August 1977
MD Toronto(1926) MRCP(1929) FRCPC(1934) FRCP(1962)

After graduation in medicine, at Toronto in 1926, Herbert Hyland served as an intern at the Grace Hospital, and as an assistant in general practice in Stratford, Ontario. Then, encouraged by Duncan Graham, he studied for two years in London, England, where he soon acquired his MRCP, and found his lasting interest in neurology at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square. He returned to the staff of the department of medicine at the Toronto General Hospital in 1930. He instilled new vigour and interest in neurology through being a popular and keen teacher, clinical investigator and consultant. His lectures and published works were always of top calibre, and he collaborated effectively in several projects with his colleagues in medicine, neurosurgery and neuropathology. His pre-war papers included studies of subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord, anorexia nervosa, frontal lobe tumours, poliomyelitis and intracranial aneurysms. Like most neurologists of his era, Hyland included in his activities the study and treatment of psychoneuroses, and he continued this psychiatric part of his practice throughout his career.

Soon after the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he enlisted with No 15 Hospital, RCAMC, and a few months later was seconded to No 1 Canadian Neurological Hospital, with which he served in Basingstoke, England, from June 1940 until December 1942. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel and was in charge of the medical side of that very busy and successful neurological hospital.

After his return to the Toronto General Hospital, Hyland resumed an important leading role in a rapidly growing and changing scene of neurology in the department of medicine. With his resident and staff colleagues, he again produced good clinical studies and publications, including further work on intracranial aneurysms, brainstem tumours, cerebral venous thrombosis, cerebellar ataxias, hemiballismus, and the cerebral changes of hypertension. At the same time, he was for many years head of psychiatry at the Toronto General Hospital, and at the Wellesley Hospital when it was a division of the TGH from 1949 to1960.

He was recognized nationally and internationally, being elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1947 and a member of the American Neurological Association. He was a charter member and an early president of the Canadian Neurological Society.

It was a great loss to his associates and the department when Hyland retired from most of his University duties in 1960. He did carry on actively as a consultant neurologist for several more years. In 1968 he was appointed to the consulting staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and finally served as physician-in-chief of that hospital from 1970 until 1973, when poor health forced him into complete retirement.

The contributions of Hyland to medical neurology were numerous, and deserving of tribute and thanks from the Toronto General Hospital and the University of Toronto. In a more personal way, we who worked closely with ‘Bob’ Hyland, as he was known by his friends, cherish memories of his delightful and inspiring companionship and leadership. Until his retirement, he was never satisfied with doing only routine clinical and administrative chores and teaching. He constantly had some clinical investigation and writing under way. With that he regularly involved and stimulated his colleagues. His papers show the surviving value of clinical studies and of clinicopathological correlations, even in this age of advanced scientific research technology.

He married Mary Ruth, daughter of Robert Patterson, an accountant, in 1938. They had two sons and two daughters, the elder son becoming a chest physician at the TGH and at the Wellesley Hospital.

JC Richardson

[Can. J. Neurol. Sci., Feb 1978, 5 (1): 51]

(Volume VII, page 294)

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