b.18 September 1913 d.25 December 1991
TD MB ChB Glasg(1938) MB BChir Cantab(1947) MRCP(1947) MA Cantab(1952) MD(1952) FRCP(1958)
Ian Mackenzie was the son of a distinguished Scottish physician, Ivy Mackenzie, and his wife Helen Janette née Simpson. He was born in Glasgow and educated at Rugby School. He studied medicine in Glasgow and Cambridge and on graduation he obtained a post as house surgeon at the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. In August 1939 he interrupted his medical career to go on active service with the RAMC until 1946, being awarded the Territorial Decoration. When the war ended he resumed his medical career and returned to a house physician’s appointment at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow. It was during this period that he made up his mind to become a neurologist. He journeyed to what was then the Mecca of neurology - the National Hospital, Queen Square, London - and worked his way through the junior posts from house physician to senior registrar and resident medical officer.
In March 1951 he was appointed chief assistant to the department of neurology at Guy’s Hospital. During his training at Guy’s and for the latter part of the time at Queen Square he came under the influence of the greatest clinical neurologist of his time - Sir Charles Symonds [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.563]. Both Mackenzie and Symonds were intuitive neurologists and did not depend on the lengthy obsessional neurological examination so prevalent among the neurologists of that era. Both were masters of the English language and this, combined with their formidable intellect and experience, enabled them to diagnose the most difficult neurological cases and express their opinions in clear, lucid terms - leaving their students and colleagues full of admiration.
It was not surprising that when Charles Symonds retired in 1955 he was replaced by Ian Mackenzie. Ian was one of the first London neurologists to hold consultant sessions in the regions, as well as at a major teaching hospital; in his case at Bedford and later at Maidstone. This association was of great benefit to both centres and has since been widely copied. He was an excellent teacher of neurology, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and his ward rounds in the ’60s - often attended by Sir Charles in his retirement - attracted junior and senior neurologists from afar. He was essentially a clinical neurologist and did not believe in going into print unless he had something original to say. The contribution he did make to the neurological literature, particularly those on the clinical presentations of cerebral angioma and his superb monograph on the cerebral bruit, have stood the test of time. He was also responsible for the neurological sections in several editions of French's index of differential diagnoses and A short textbook of medicine.
Ian was a keen sportsman and a warm and generous host. Those fortunate enough to be on his junior staff were often invited for a Sunday afternoon tennis match at his home in Dulwich, or for a round of golf at the nearby course. His charming wife Anthea made sure that guests were well supplied with food, wine, and psychological encouragement to help them cope with her husband’s exacting standards in the sporting field. He and Anthea were married in 1950 and they had three children, two daughters and a son, of whom Ian was rightly proud. His son and eldest daughter followed him into the medical profession and his younger daughter became a physiotherapist.
In his retirement Ian maintained his keen interest in sport and, above all, in literature. He was extremely well read and enjoyed his impressive library. He retained contact throughout his life with his colleagues at Guy’s and many of his former students and staff.
R G Lascelles
[Brit.med.J., 1992,304,978; Times, 28 Feb 1992;Guy’s Hospital Gazette, March 1992,80-81-,1978,326-7]
(Volume IX, page 340)
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