Lives of the fellows

Michael Peter Mahoney

b.20 August 1933 d.21 February 2014
MB BCh Wales(1958) MRCP(1963) FRCP(1977)

Michael Mahoney, known as ‘Mike’, was a consultant physician at the Royal Infirmary, Blackburn. He was born in Cardiff to Peter, a blast furnace foreman, and his wife Frances Nora. He was educated at De La Salle and St Illtyd’s schools in Cardiff. He then went to Cardiff University, initially reading chemistry and engineering, before switching to medicine before completing his degree. Because of this switch of courses, he had to be partly self-funding and in his final MB year he worked on the railways in parallel with his studies to supplement his income! All his work on the railways and studying did not prevent him going out with his future wife Celia Frances Jefferey (known as Frances), who was two to three years below him at medical school.

After junior posts at Cardiff Infirmary and Sully Hospital, he married Frances on 31 December 1960, so that, as Frances claims, he could not forget their wedding anniversary. Mike was then a cardiology registrar at Manchester Royal Infirmary (from 1960 to 1962) and then a medical registrar at Southmead Hospital, Bristol (from 1962 to 1964), where he obtained his MRCP. He then returned to Manchester Royal Infirmary, to the medical unit, successively as tutor for Douglas Black [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.62], then as a lecturer and subsequently as a senior registrar in medicine, where he worked with Harry Howat [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.278].

In 1970 he was appointed as a consultant physician at Blackburn Royal Infirmary for the then Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Health Authority, where he continued to develop his gastroenterology interest, as well as participating in a busy unselected general medical take.

He developed an endoscopy service from scratch, initially in the procedures room of his general medical ward. This grew significantly and was succeeded by a fully fledged endoscopy unit in the early 1980s. He was a prime mover in the development of an education centre and a medical library in the 1970s, and in raising charitable funding for east Lancashire’s first gamma camera in the late 1970s. Mike was also an accomplished general physician, and was delighted when his medical team on ward seven became known as ‘The A-Team’ after a popular TV programme of the day. He became the Royal College of Physicians’ regional adviser for the northwest, and was deservedly awarded a ‘B’ merit award.

Mike had a wicked sense of humour, which could be used to devastating effect in the consultant’s dining room, with colleagues not being sure how to react to outrageous comments delivered with panache and a deadpan expression. After my first year sharing a ward with him, I bought him for Christmas the largest wooden spoon I could find, with a typed note saying ‘To a professional from an amateur who is willing to learn’.

Before and after his retirement Mike enjoyed a variety of pursuits, including photography, clay-pigeon shooting and ‘do-it-yourself’, particularly involving tools and gadgets, leading Frances to say their house was better stocked than B&Q, the largest home improvement retailer in the UK.

He was survived by Frances, five children (Peter, Paul, Sara, Michael and Damien) and six grandchildren, of whom he was very proud. He was thrilled that his eldest son, Peter, was not put off medicine by the long hours worked by his dad and became an anaesthetist in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

L Peter Ormerod

[Lancashire Telegraph 14 April 2014 – accessed 17 December 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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