Lives of the fellows

Edward Lawson McDonald

b.8 February 1918 d.13 January 2007
MRCS LRCP(1942) MB BChir Cantab(1946) MRCP(1949) MD(1952) FRCP(1961) FACC(1968)

Lawson McDonald was a consultant cardiologist at the National Heart Hospital, London, and a senior lecturer at the Institute of Cardiology. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the son of Charles Seaver McDonald, an assurance executive, and Mabel Deborah McDonald née Osborne, the daughter of a physician. He attended Mourne Grange and Felsted schools, and then went to Clare College, Cambridge, and Middlesex Hospital. He qualified with the conjoint diploma in 1942.

From October 1942 to April 1943 he was a house physician to G E S Ward [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VI, p.449] in the neurological department at Middlesex Hospital. He then became a house physician in the neurological unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital under George Riddoch [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.600]. From October to November 1943 he was a junior resident anaesthetist at Middlesex Hospital, and then joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). He served as a surgeon lieutenant on HMS Glasgow and was involved in the North Atlantic and Normandy campaigns.

In 1946, after he was demobilised, he became a resident medical officer at the National Heart Hospital, and then a clinical assistant to Sir John Parkinson [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII p.443] and an assistant registrar at the Institute of Cardiology. From July 1948 to September 1949 he was a medical registrar at Middlesex Hospital, then an assistant to the professor of medicine at Middlesex Hospital.

In 1952 he was awarded a Rockefeller travelling fellowship in medicine and worked as an assistant in medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, and as a research fellow in medicine at Harvard University.

After returning to England, he was a clinical and research assistant at the department of cardiology, Middlesex Hospital, for two years. In 1955 he was appointed assistant director of the Institute of Cardiology at the University of London, under the directorship of Paul Wood [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.456], and an honorary assistant physician at the National Heart Hospital. In 1960 he became a consultant physician to the cardiac department of the London Hospital and, a year later, an assistant physician to the National Heart Hospital and a lecturer at the Institute of Cardiology. He was also a consultant cardiologist to King Edward VII's Hospital for Officers, London, from 1968 to 1988, and a consultant cardiologist to King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst, from 1970 to 1992.

His early research was on valvular heart disease. He later investigated the role of blood platelets and fibrinogen in coronary heart disease. He was a member or chairman of many committees and travelled extensively on lecture tours. He was an adviser to the Malaysian government on cardiac services.

Outside medicine, he was interested in skiing, mountain walking, sailing and painting.

In 1953 he married Ellen Greig. They had one son, James. Lawson McDonald was survived by his son and by Patricia, his companion.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2007 335 309]

(Volume XII, page web)

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