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Biographical entry McNeill, John Fletcher (1926 - 2006)

MRCS and FRCS 1955; MB BS Durham 1949; MS Durham 1963.

15 March 1926
Yoker, Scotland, UK
8 March 2006
General surgeon


John Fletcher McNeill, always known as ‘Ian’, was a surgeon at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle. He was born on 15 March 1926 in Yoker, near Glasgow, the youngest of the five children of John Henry Fletcher McNeill, a teacher, and Annie McLachlan, a housewife. The family moved from Glasgow to Newcastle when he was a baby and there he attended Lemington Grammar School. He entered King’s College Medical School, Durham University, a year younger than he should in 1943. There, in addition to serving in the Home Guard, he won the Tulloch scholarship for preclinical studies, the Outterson Wood prize for psychological medicine and the Philipson scholarship in surgery. He qualified in 1949 with honours.

After house posts at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he did his National Service in the RAF with Fighter Command. In 1952 he returned to the professorial unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary as a senior house officer. A year later he was demonstrator of anatomy and then completed a series of registrar posts at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Shotley Bridge, before returning to the surgical unit as a senior registrar.

From this position he was seconded as Harvey Cushing fellow to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, from 1961 to 1962, where he carried out research on the effects of haemorrhage and cortical suprarenal hormones on the partition of body water, which led to his MS thesis.

He returned to Newcastle as first assistant, until he was appointed lecturer (with consultant status) at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in 1963, as well as honorary consultant in vascular surgery, consultant in charge of the casualty department and honorary consultant to the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital. He was one of the first to restore a severed arm, and he developed a g-suit to control bleeding from a ruptured aorta. He wrote extensively, mainly on vascular and metabolic disorders.

In 1957 he married Alma Mary Robson, a theatre sister at the Royal Victoria Hospital. He had many interests, including Egyptology, art, swimming, cricket, woodwork and travel. He died on 8 March 2006 from cancer of the lung, and is survived by his daughter Jane.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Evening Chronicle 16 March 2006].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England