Lives of the fellows

Luis Adrian Vassallo

b.29 July 1933 d.28 June 1994
BSc Malta BPharm MD(1957) MRCP(1964) FRCP(1976) FRCP Edin MRCP Glasg

Luis Vassallo was a leading Maltese physician, becoming the first doctor from the island to train full time in neurology. In choosing his career he followed an eminent ancestor, Giorgio J B Locano, a senior physician during the late eighteenth century and chair of medicine at the University of Malta, who wrote several books and is mentioned in Fielding H Garrisons History of neurology (Springfield, Illinois, Charles C Thomas, 1969). Vassallo’s immediate family were not doctors; his father was director of education for the island. Luis was born and educated in Malta, attending the Lyceum and later the Royal University. He qualified in 1957 and went on to the West End Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. He returned to Malta in 1964 as a consultant physician and lecturer in medicine at St Luke's Hospital and the Royal University of Malta. He later became the first head of the department of community medicine.

Like the majority of his colleagues he left Malta in 1977 following a dispute between politicians and doctors over the introduction of controversial legislation compromising the independence of the Medical Council of Malta. He had to leave Malta to continue his hospital practice and took the position of chief of medicine at the King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Luis Vassallo was keen on teaching and research and published widely. He was an instinctive physician; his clinical interests went far beyond his specialty. Though his research interests were diverse, he showed an interest in the epidemiological aspects of disease, especially those that were relevant to Malta.

He married his classmate, Elsa, in 1957 and they had a large family of seven daughters and two sons. He died of metastatic bowel cancer.

F F Fenech

[Brit.med.J., 1994,309,1578]

(Volume X, page 502)

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