Lives of the fellows

Harry Edward Mansell

b.28 January 1901 d.1 June 1941
BA Oxon(1923) BM BCh Oxon(1929) MRCS LRCP(1927) MRCP(1930) FRCP(1937)

Harry Edward Mansell was the son of Dr Harry Rosser Mansell, a general practitioner in Hastings, and his wife, who was formerly Lilian Annie Langham. He was educated at Malvern, Pembroke College, Oxford, and St. George’s Hospital. After holding house appointments and the Wander scholarship in the children’s department of the Westminster Hospital he became in 1931 medical registrar and afterwards resident assistant physician at St. George’s Hospital. In 1934 he was appointed deputy medical superintendent of the Lambeth Hospital.

His chief interests were in practical medicine; he was a thoroughly sound all-round clinician with special experience in tuberculosis and diseases of children. Whilst at St. George’s he became expert, under the influence of C. B. Levick, in interpreting electrocardiograms which were just coming into fairly general use. His knowledge proved particularly valuable at Lambeth when Laurence O’Shaughnessy joined the staff and began his attempt to provide an alternative coronary circulation for patients suffering from ischaemic heart disease. The operation of cardio-omentopexy which he devised was destined to fail, but it was an important pioneer effort and an early example of the value of co-operation between a physician and a surgeon in this field.

Mansell was a man of varied interests. He was a keen and competent player of tennis and squash racquets, and a pianist who could give an adequate performance of the less difficult Beethoven sonatas. Both in his work and in his relaxations he was precise and fastidious, with a keen sense of tradition and form. He frequently used Greek words, not always correctly accentuated, in his clinical notes, and at times seemed to have about him a rather archaic quality which, in spite of his modern knowledge, suggested a fundamentally nineteenth century outlook. His later years were dogged by severe illness. He left a widow, Jean Barnes, who had trained as a nurse at Lambeth, and two young children.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1941, 1, 912; Lancet, 1941, 1, 807 (p).]

(Volume V, page 265)

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