Lives of the fellows

Reginald Norman Tattersall

b.13 February 1914 d.24 August 1974
OBE(1944) MRCS LRCP(1936) MB BS(1936) MRCP(1938) MD(1938) FRCP(1955)

R.N. Tattersall was bom in Neath, South Wales. His father, Norman Tattersall, was a consultant chest physician at that time practising in South Wales who later moved to Leeds, where his son spent most of his working career. His mother was Ada Mamie, daughter of Henry Ambrose Nias, a brick manufacturer.

He was educated at Epsom College and London University, obtaining his clinical training at the General Infirmary at Leeds. He was a house physician in the General Infirmary at Leeds in 1936-7, a house surgeon in St. James’s Hospital, Leeds, in 1937, and a house physician in the Brompton Hospital, London, in 1937-8. He then entered general practice in Scarborough and was elected hon. assistant physician to the Scarborough Hospital. He served in the RAMC from 1939-1945, and had a distinguished career - mainly in India. He retired as Lieut. Colonel in charge of a medical division.

After the war he decided to become a consultant physician, and joined the University Department of Medicine at Leeds under Sir Ronald Tunbridge. He was lecturer in Medicine from 1946-50 and was then appointed assistant physician to the General Infirmary at Leeds in 1950. He was also consulting physician to the Otley Hospital until 1973, and senior clinical lecturer in Medicine to the University of Leeds.

He was essentially a clinician rather than a research worker, but he made a valuable contribution to knowledge in his paper on ‘Senile Purpura’ (Quart. J. Med., 1950) which is still one of the important references in that field. He was also joint author with Cyril John Polson of Clinical Toxicology (1960), which has become a standard work.

He was a diagnostician of considerable skill who used modem methods of investigation economically and effectively. His primary interest was the well-being of the patient both in hospital and later. He was well chosen to initiate the geriatric services at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, which were later extensively developed. His teachings were popular and well attended because he was kind and considerate to both the students and the subject, as well as possessing a dry and engaging humour.

A reserved, rather shy man of the utmost integrity and dependability, he was a devout Christian and regular church-goer who was deeply respected in religious circles. His great love was fly-fishing, at which he excelled, and his happiest hours were spent on the Dovey near his cottage. He introduced many of his friends and colleagues to this fascinating yet infuriating pastime. His later years were rather restricted by ill health, but after his retirement from private consulting practice he devoted much time and energy to medical administration, at which he soon became expert. He made a considerable contribution to the complex and laborious reorganisation of the Leeds General Infirmary and its district at the time of the great administrative upheaval of 1974.

In 1938 he married Joan Mary, daughter of Henry Coward, schoolmaster. They had one son, who became a doctor, and one daughter.

Deryck Taverner

[Quart. J. Med., 1956, NS 74, 151-159]

(Volume VI, page 430)

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