Lives of the fellows

Henry MacCormac

b.1879 d.12 December 1950
CBE(1919) MB ChB Edin(1903) MD FRCP(1917)

Henry MacCormac was the son of John MacCormac of Belfast, the nephew of Sir William MacCormac, Bart, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, and the grandson of Henry MacCormac, M.D, an early advocate of the open-air treatment of phthisis. He graduated as M.B, Ch.B, at Edinburgh in 1903, and, having completed his studies at London and Paris, obtained junior appointments in the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, the Royal National Hospital, Ventnor, the Westminster Hospital and the Middlesex Hospital. Experience of pre-cancerous conditions of the skin, gained while working in the Cancer Research Department of the Middlesex, made him decide to specialise in dermatology, and he was appointed to the Hospital’s skin department in 1912, a year after becoming assistant physician. He was made full physician to the department after J. J. Pringle’s death in 1920, and remained in charge till 1946. For a time he was also physician for skin diseases to the Seamen’s Hospital, Greenwich. A lieutenant-colonel in the first World War, he acted as consulting dermatologist to the B.E.F. in France and was in medical charge of the 25th General Hospital; he was created C.B.E. in 1919 and became consulting physician to Queen Alexandra’s Military Hospital. While in the army, he strove to make the authorities aware of the menace of scabies, and after demobilisation, he continued his campaign in public. He sponsored films on scabies and on industrial dermatology, on which he made himself an authority, being the first dermatologist to be appointed a medical referee. He delivered the Lumleian Lectures at the Royal College of Physicians in 1945. MacCormac, with his store of anecdotes, powers of mimicry, and buoyant if sometimes ironical sense of humour, was a popular figure among his colleagues and loved by his patients. He married in 1931 Marion, daughter of B. C. Broomhall, F.R.C.S, of Tai Yuan Mission Hospital, China, and had one son. He died in London.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1950; B.M.J., 1950]

(Volume IV, page 552)

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