Lives of the fellows

Michael Bernard Matthews

b.8 January 1920 d.2 June 2015
BA Cantab(1941) MB BChir(1944) MRCS LRCP(1944) MRCP(1946) MD(1954) MRCP Edin(1959) FRCP Edin(1961) FRCP(1966)

Michael Bernard Matthews was a consultant cardiologist at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh. Known as ‘Ginger’, ‘Mick’, ‘MBM’ or ‘Mike’, he was born in Broadstairs, Kent, the youngest of three sons of Charles Henry Selfe Matthews, a clerk in holy orders, and Gertrude Ethelwyn Matthews née Malkin, the daughter of the chief clerk to the House of Lords. He was educated at Wellesley House, Broadstairs, and Marlborough College, and then studied at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, first on an exhibition and later on a scholarship. He went on to clinical studies at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School during the Blitz.

He qualified in 1944 and for the next two years was a casualty officer, house physician and then a medical registrar at St Thomas’. He then joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and served in Germany. From 1948 to 1952 he was a registrar and then a senior registrar in the cardiac department of St Thomas’.

In 1954 he moved to Edinburgh as a consultant cardiologist, initially at the Eastern General Hospital, and as a lecturer in the department of medicine, Edinburgh University. He spent the rest of his consultant career in Edinburgh, later at the Western General, and for some years was head of the department of medicine. In 1957 he was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Buffalo, USA.

Although he wrote the cardiology chapter in the early editions of John Macleod’s Clinical examination (E & S Livingstone Ltd), he was not particularly involved in research, but was supportive of those who did. He was an inspiring teacher and mentor. His interest in medical education led him to co-write a seminal paper on problem-based learning, which is widely cited (‘Essentials of problem-based learning’ Med Educ. 1989 Nov;23[6]:542-58).

At the time of his election to the fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians he listed photography and shooting as his interests.

He married Mary Dendy, a nurse, in 1952 and they had four children. His wife died in 1988. In 2006 he returned to Edinburgh after a stroke. He was survived by his three daughters, one son, nine grandchildren and one great grandson.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2015 351 5151]

(Volume XII, page web)

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