Lives of the fellows

John Patrick David Mounsey

b.1 February 1914 d.21 February 1999
MA Cantab(1940) MRCS LRCP(1944) MB BChir Lond(1945) MRCP(1948) MD(1950) FRCP(1962) Hon LLD Wales(1980)

Patrick Mounsey was provost of the Welsh National School of Medicine. He was educated at Eton where he captained the Oppidans and, as head of the school, was always proud to have introduced compulsory baths. He went on to read classics at King’s College, Cambridge. Being a good artist and draughtsman he trained as an architect. He later decided to change course and qualified in medicine at the age of 30, attending King’s College Hospital Medical School in London.

After a spell as a Sherbrook Research Fellow in cardiology at the London Hospital from 1951 to 1960, he moved to the Royal Postgraduate Medical School as a lecturer and consultant cardiologist. In 1962 he was promoted to senior lecturer and sub-dean. In 1967 he moved with Sir John McMichael [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IX, p.341] to the British Postgraduate Medical Federation and in 1969 he was appointed provost of the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff. The appointment of such a thoroughbred Englishman to this post caused surprise and even some criticism. He soon confounded his critics by learning the Welsh language sufficiently well to conduct official ceremonies in that language.

His early contributions to cardiology mainly concerned the nature of Ebstein’s malformation of the heart. He published seminal papers on this topic and served as assistant editor of the British Heart Journal.

His task in Wales was daunting. The move of the school of medicine to the then newly integrated University Hospital of Wales Medical Teaching Centre required him to delineate the respective areas of responsibility for the medical school and hospital. He accomplished this task with his great diplomatic skills.

As a somewhat distant and shy man with an outsize intellect and knowledge base, he was awe inspiring to his staff. But, once the barriers were overcome, there was a warm hearted man with a dry sense of humour who was generous not only in spirit but in deeds. His major areas of interest were music (he played in the Glyndebourne orchestra at the age of 14) and linguistics.

Upon retirement he was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the University of Wales for his services to the University. He moved to Wotton under Edge, where he painted and gardened and rediscovered his tenor voice, joining the local church choir.

He was married to Sallie (née King), who predeceased him in 1990. They had two children.

Sir William Asscher

[The Times 7 Apr 1999]

(Volume XI, page 407)

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