Lives of the fellows

David William Raphael Sumner

b.24 October 1925 d.5 October 2008
TD(1971) BSc Manch(1948) MB ChB(1950) MRCP(1958) FRCP(1974)

David William Raphael Sumner was a consultant neurologist at St James’s Hospital, Leeds. He was born in Oxted, Surrey, the son of a pharmacist, James Septimus Sumner, and his wife, Florence Marjorie née Stelling, the daughter of Otto, a technical representative. He attended Carlisle Grammar School and studied medicine at Manchester University and Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI). After early house jobs at the MRI and the Crumpsall Hospital, he joined the RAMC in 1953 for two years National Service with the rank of major. He was appointed physician to Spandau Prison, Berlin and numbered major war criminals such as Herman Hess and Admiral Karl Doenitz among his patients.

In 1955 he became resident medical officer at the MRI, moving to Leeds General Infirmary as senior registrar in two years later. He was appointed consultant neurologist to Leeds (St James’s) University Hospital in 1964 and senior clinical lecturer in neurology to the university. From 1969 to 1972 he was chairman of the board of the faculty of medicine at Leeds University.

He was a member of council of the Medical Protection Society in 1972, a member of the Wakefield Area Health Authority, two years later, and president of the Leeds and West Riding Medico-Legal Society from 1973 to 1974. Author of several papers on brain disorders, he also contributed a chapter on ‘Disturbance of senses of smell and taste after head injuries’ to The handbook of clinical neurology (New York, Elsevier, 1976).

Motor racing was one of his enthusiasms, as were vintage sports cars. He also enjoyed gardening and reading crime novels.

In 1959, he married Margaret Ann Ellen, the daughter of George Harold Boyce CB, AFC who was an Air Commodore in the RAF. They had a son and daughter, and Margaret, who was also a medical practitioner, predeceased him.

RCP editor

(Volume XII, page web)

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