Lives of the fellows

George Michell

b.8 September 1927 d.26 July 2008
MB BS Sydney(1951) MRACP(1956) MRCP(1959) MRCP Edin(1959) FRACP(1967) FRCP(1977)

George was born in 1927. His parents were Michael and Maria Michell. He studied at Canterbury Boys High School and in 1945 enrolled in medicine at the University of Sydney. George was a good student gaining many distinctions during the course. He was an active member of the Medical Society Council and Chairman of the Hellenist Society.

George graduated in 1951 and was appointed to Sydney Hospital as a Junior Resident. He arrived at the hospital in a Riley, a sure indicator of his future success. He progressed through various RMO appointments, becoming the senior medical registrar in 1956. George was both successful and popular. His only real problem arose when as acting deputy superintendent he was scheduled to outpatients tonsils. It proved a difficult assignment for a committed physician.

In 1956 George gained his membership of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. In 1957 he married Shirley Ann Akon and proceeded to England. As was the custom at that time, he acquired membership of both the London and the Edinburgh Colleges. He then commenced formal training in cardiology as a houseman to John Goodwin at the Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital, after which he took up an appointment as registrar in Aubery Leatham’s unit at St George’s Hospital London. There he did research on coronary angiography which led to a number of publications on this subject.

In 1960 he was appointed as Staff Cardiologist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. However the increasing emphasis on invasive cardiology was not to his liking and in 1963 George decided to accept the appointment of Honorary Visiting Cardiologist. George became a member of the Cardiac Society and later a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He attended the scientific meetings of both organisations on a regular basis.

George commenced a long distinguished period in cardiology private practice, modelling his practice on that of his friend and mentor, Gaston Bauer. He excelled in this endeavour, enjoying contact with his patients and colleagues. As a visiting cardiologist at St Vincent’s Hospital, he was appreciated by the staff. As a tutor in medicine and cardiology, he enjoyed contact with the medical trainees and was impressed by their knowledge.

George was a very thorough physician applying his considerable clinical skills to achieve the best possible outcome for his patients. His success was firmly based on thoroughness in history taking and physical examination. He produced long, detailed reports which were appreciated by the referring doctors. These reports also impressed the surgeons and anaesthetists involved in the case.

In recent years an unfortunate accident led to a long period of rehabilitation. George did return to practice for a short time but his health deteriorated and he reluctantly retired.

In a note submitted for the Jubilee Year Book 1950 George stated that he would be happy to relive his life again without change. He had only two regrets: none of his four sons had followed him into medicine and, he had failed to conquer the game of golf.

George’s funeral on 26 July 2008 was attended by relatives and many friends. The family, with George, had decided that stethoscope and dictaphone would accompany him but not the phone.

J Morgan

[Reproduced, with permission, from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ College Roll]

(Volume XII, page web)

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