Lives of the fellows

Dermot McCracken

b.3 August 1919 d.22 August 2008
BSc Wales(1939) MB BCh(1942) MRCP(1945) FRCP(1973)

Dermot McCracken was a medical officer in the University of Leeds health service. Born in London, he was the son of Nathaniel, a surveyor of Customs and Excise and his wife, Dorothy Milbrow Elizabeth née Jenkins, whose father, Tom, was a signalman. He studied medicine at the University of Wales and Cardiff Royal Infirmary, qualifying in 1942, whereupon he immediately volunteered for the services but was rejected on medical grounds.

He did house jobs at Llandough Hospital in Cardiff, working with D A Williams [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.540] and as gynaecological house surgeon to Gilbert Strachan [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.403]. After that, in 1943, he became resident medical officer (RMO) at St David’s Hospital in Cardiff and then RMO at the Sully Hospital for Diseases of the Chest (at that time the Chest Centre for South Wales) in the Vale of Glamorgan from 1943 to 1944.

Moving to Leicester, he became RMO and then senior RMO to the City General Hospital until 1946, when he returned to Wales as assistant lecturer in medicine on the professorial unit of the Welsh National School of Medicine. Following that, in 1948, he was appointed assistant physician to the Ashton-under-Lyne group of hospitals in Lancashire for two years, with responsibility for the medical and paediatric wards. Remaining in the North West, he then entered group practice in a large semi-rural area and stayed there for 12 years. Finally, in 1962, he joined the Leeds University health service (then the department of student health). The department was going through a long period of expansion and development as a result of increasing student numbers and the extension of its remit and McCracken dealt with this situation with huge energy and commitment. He retired from full-time work in 1979 but remained in post part-time for a further four years.

He published papers on topics such as the treatment of asthma and Simmonds disease and published and wrote a book University student performance: the changing pattern of medical and social factors over three years and their correlations with examination results (1969) which was published by the British Student Health Association.

Outside medicine, he enjoyed music, literature and photography. After retiring fully, he and his wife moved first to Coniston in the Lake District and then to the Bristol area to be near their family.

In 1947 he married Margaret née Laycock who had qualified in medicine from Manchester University in 1944. Her father Enoch was the manager of a textile mill. She died shortly before her husband and they were survived by their four children.

RCP editor

[Leeds University obituaries - accessed 14 April 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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