Lives of the fellows

Maurice Durward Young

b.20 September 1912 d.21 July 1990
MRCS LRCP(1936) MA MB BChir Cantab(1938) MRCP(1944) FRCPC(1948) FRCP(1976)

Maurice Young was born in Victoria, British Columbia. His father was a Shakespearean actor and his grandfather had been physician to the British Court in Rome. These origins undoubtedly contributed to his stature as a fine physician with histrionic ability, gifts which combined to make him an outstanding teacher.

He was educated at Brentwood College, a private school with which he maintained a long association and became a member of the board of governors. Having decided on medicine as a career, he came to England and went up to St John’s College, Cambridge, and on to The London Hospital for his clinical training. After qualification he held a number of house jobs at The London; he was RMO private wards and then RMO in charge at Warleywoods EMS Hospital. This was during the second world war and Maurice’s initial impulse was to join the Canadian Navy but in fact he joined the RNVR where, as a surgeon lieutenant he served at Scapa Flow, then on the hospital ship Gerusalemme, and finally in the Far East - ending up in Hong Kong by the time hostilities ceased.

In 1946 Maurice returned to Canada where he did further paediatric training in Montreal and went on for sub-specialty experience to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore USA, where he worked with Helen Taussig, the pioneer paediatric cardiologist. He subsequently returned to British Columbia and was one of the first to join the paediatric faculty when a new medical school was started in Vancouver in 1950.

He was the author of several publications in the field of cardiology but his principal strength was in teaching. He was a master of the didactic approach as well as less formal small group teaching, and all the more effective because he had a profound interest in each individual student. He was coordinator of residency training during a period of dynamic growth and later became a member of the examining boards of the Medical Council of Canada and of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. His annual speech, ‘roasting’ the students of the graduating class, was a high point in their recollections and he was able to carry on this tradition until a few months before he died. His creativity m the context of many years of ‘skits night’ was legendary. In 1974 he was appointed associate dean, postgraduate education, at the University of British Columbia medical school.

Maurice loved the Navy and for years he was chief medical officer to HMS Discovery, the principal base for the Naval Reserve in Vancouver. He was as interested in sea cadets as he was in medical students and he became commanding officer of the university naval training division at UBC. He held the rank of surgeon captain RCN(R). Other major interests were in the Youth Parliament of the province and the Central City Mission, an organization serving the needs of the disadvantaged of which he was a long time board member and president.

Many of his medical colleagues knew nothing about Maurice’s extra-curricular prominence and it is characteristic of his essential humility that he listed ‘gardening, philately and photography’ as his ‘other interests’ on his curriculm vitae. He was devoted to his wife, Kay, whom he had married in 1954, and to his children - a son and a stepdaughter - who remained very close to him.

Perhaps a little old-fashioned, by North American standards, Maurice was held in great respect by the large number of people with whom he came into contact. He valued his British heritage and spoke often of his British experience, which was an essential part of his life and career as a fine Canadian.

R Hill

(Volume IX, page 610)

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