Lives of the fellows

Alexander James Smith McFadzean

b.28 January 1914 d.29 November 1974
OBE(1964) MB ChB Glasg(1936) MRCP(1946) FRCP(1956) MD(1960) FRCPE(1965) Hon DSc Hong Kong(1970) FRSE(1971) Hon FRACP(1971) Hon FRCSE JP

A Scot of the Scots, Alec McFadzean was born at Troon, Ayrshire. He was the son of Francis Findlay McFadzean, Secretary, and Annie Scott McFadzean. His mother was a daughter of James Anderson Smith, a carpenter.

He was educated at Troon Grammar School and the University of Glasgow, graduating in medicine in 1936 with honours and the Brunton Memorial Prize. From 1936 until the outbreak of war he held junior appointments in medicine, surgery and pathology at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Hawkhead Mental Hospital and Anlaby Road Hospital, Hull.

War service in the RAMC was from 1939 to 1945. He served as a Regimental Medical Officer to the 4th & 5th East Yorks Regt. In the Desert Campaign, and from 1943 to 1945 as a medical specialist in the Middle East with the rank of major, and finally as medical specialist in Scottish Command. He was mentioned in despatches.

In 1946 he returned to Glasgow as senior lecturer in medicine to the Muirhead Professor of Medicine (L.J. Davies) at the Royal Infirmary. There he developed a keen investigative interest in haematology and liver disease.

In 1948 he was called to the Chair of Medicine in the University of Hong Kong, which was in process of re-establishing itself after the four years of enemy occupation. There Alec gained a great reputation, and in the next quarter century he was probably the biggest single personality in placing that medical school amongst the finest in the world. He was an all-rounder, an able clinician, a clear incisive teacher, a capable and inspiring investigator, a good administrator as professor, dean and for a short time as vice-chancellor, but above all as an honest staunch striver after truth and justice. He led a full life with outstanding performance on the golf course as his only recreation. He was possessed of a somewhat stem cast of countenance illuminated at frequent intervals by a warm smile, and a forthright style of speech which in no way concealed his intensely compassionate interest in people. His students adored him and his equals sometimes feared him.

He maintained a keen research interest mainly in the field of liver and blood diseases and was the author of many papers.

In September 1942 he married Florence, daughter of Samuel Edwin Yamold, an insurance broker of Glasgow. They had one son and one daughter.

A few months after retiring to Ayr, Alec died.

Sir W Melville Arnott

[Brit.med.J., 1974, 4, 723; Times, 6 Dec 1974]

(Volume VI, page 310)

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