Lives of the fellows

Wilfrid Michael Priest

b.29 September 1907 d.25 April 1975
MB BS Lond(1931) MD(1933) MRCP(1933) FRCP(1964)

Michael Priest was the son of the Rev. William Priest and his wife Eva, daughter of Edwin Dickinson, JP. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital and entered University College, London, as Andrews Scholar in Science. After qualification he held house posts at University College Hospital and quickly obtained the MRCP and MD. He joined the LCC medical service and was assistant medical officer at Archway and St. Mary Abbots hospitals, but after three years he resigned and went into general practice in North London. As a member of the supplementary reserve of officers he found himself in the RAMC at the outbreak of war, and served with distinction as a medical specialist with the British Expeditionary Force and later in the Middle East campaign. In 1943, he was promoted Lieut. Colonel in charge of the medical division of 68 General Hospital at Lagos, and he finished his war service with the British Liberation Army in Europe.

Priest was now destined for consultant practice and after a period at UCH as resident assistant physician, he was appointed physician to the Warneford Hospital, Leamington Spa, in 1947 and subsequently to Stratford-on-Avon General Hospital. For the next 25 years until his retirement he worked with great diligence, keeping abreast of medical advances by constant study and contributing occasional papers to medical journals. The best known of these is his study of islet tumours of the pancreas. He was recognised as a sound physician who investigated his cases thoroughly, and for many years he wrote his own case summaries in longhand. He was a man of high principles completely dedicated to his work and never influenced by material reward. He took little interest in the ever increasing involvement of doctors in medical administration and stoutly upheld the importance of a hospital rather than a group concept. He will be remembered for his devotion to the Warneford Hospital, the reputation of which he greatly enhanced.

Outside medicine his interests were in literature, medical history, classical music and attending the Royal Festival Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon. He wrote an account of the life of the Rev.Dr.Samuel Warneford for the West Midlands Physicians Association, and was engaged on other historial memoirs at the time of his death.

He married in 1937 Anne, daughter of Walter Burgess, who survived him with one son and one daughter.

SRF Whittaker

[Brit.med.J., 1975, 2, 396; Lancet, 1975, 1, 1149]

(Volume VI, page 384)

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