Lives of the fellows

Michael Frederick Truscott Yealland

b.26 September 1921 d.23 March 1999
MB BChir Cantab(1945) MRCS LRCP(1945) MRCP(1952) FRCP(1966)

Michael Yealland was a consultant neurologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. He was the son of Lewis Yealland [Munk's Roll, Vol. V, p.465], a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and a consultant neurologist in London. Michael's mother came from Northern Ireland.

Michael Yealland was educated at Westminster School, Pembroke College, Cambridge, and at St Thomas's Hospital, where he qualified in 1945. He was a house surgeon and casualty officer at St. Thomas's before he joined the RAMC.

When he returned to civilian medicine he became senior medical resident at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where his duties included working as house physician to B Alcock, the consultant neurologist.

He returned to St. Thomas's as registrar in an appointment that was shared between the departments of neurology and psychiatry. The department of neurology was headed by J St C Elkington [Munk's Roll, Vol.V, p.116], who had a high reputation as a teacher, and the department of psychological medicine by William Sargent [Munk's Roll, Vol.VIII, p.434], who was a pioneer in the use of various physical methods in the treatment of psychological illness. I know that Michael found this experience in psychiatry valuable in his subsequent career.

From St. Thomas's he went to the National Hospital, Queen Square, where he was resident for two years. At the end of this appointment he continued his training at King's College Hospital as senior registrar in the neurological department with Macdonald Critchley [Munk's Roll, Vol.X, p.83] and Sam Nevin [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.428]. He also held an appointment as clinical assistant to Swithin Meadows [Munk's Roll, Vol.IX, p.358] in the physicians clinic at Moorfield's Eye Hospital.

In 1959 he was appointed consultant neurologist at Addenbroke's Hospital in Cambridge and to the East Anglian Regional Hospital Board. This was the first 'specialist' appointment in neurology in that part of East Anglia, and involved responsibility for neurology over a wide area, including hospitals at King's Lynn and Huntingdon.

For many years he worked alone and carried a heavy clinical load. He was highly successful, both in his clinical work and later in the organization of neurological services in Cambridge and the region. He was in great demand for private consultations, and many of his patients were colleagues on the university staff.

The two departments of neurology and neurosurgery were among the first to move into the 'new Addenbroke's' from the old building in Trumpington Street. His first neurosurgical colleague (also I think at that time on his own) was Walpole Lewin. The subsequent development of the now large and successful department of neurology was due in part to Michael's skill, energy and hard work.

Although he was very much a 'general' neurologist with expertise over a wide field, he developed a special interest in Wilson's disease (Hepatolenticular degeneration). Many patients suffering from this rare disease came to Cambridge because of the pioneering work of J M Walshe at Addenbroke's. Walshe had investigated the basic metabolic abnormalities underlying the condition and its treatment.

He played a very important part in the foundation and development of the 'new' clinical medical school at Cambridge during Lord Butterfield's term as Regius professor of medicine. He was an independent spirit and declined to go through the formalities of taking his Cambridge MA. I understood from him that his caused some minor administrative problem when he was on important medical school committees and that a special form of words had to be devised to regularize the position.

He suffered for some years from disabling emphysema that was severely exacerbated when he developed 'tuberculous pneumonia' after his retirement. He was very seriously ill before the correct diagnosis was arrived at, and afterwards suffered from very severe exertional dyspnoa.

He was a first class colleague, a good teacher and good friend to many. He enjoyed sailing and for a long time shared a large seagoing boat which he kept on the south west coast. He died shortly after suffering a severe stroke.

C J Earl

(Volume XI, page 649)

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