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Biographical entry Le Vay, Abraham David (1915 - 2001)

MRCS 1937; FRCS 1940; MB BS London 1937; MS 1940; LRCP 1937.

16 July 2001


David Le Vay was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon to Woolwich Brook General Hospital, London, for more than 30 years. During this time, he spent a year at the World Health Organization in Geneva and was later a visiting professor of surgery at the Shiraz Medical School, Iran. After his retirement from the NHS, he continued to work overseas, with time spent in Australia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Ireland.

He combined his medical work with a literary career. Fluent in French, German, Spanish and Latin, he translated innumerable medical textbooks and journal articles, as well as literary works. As a writer, he produced biographies of Hugh Owen Thomas, the 19th century surgeon, and Alexis Carrel, the Nobel prize-winner. In 1948 he published the popular Anatomy and also Physiology in the 'Teach Yourself' series (English Universities Press). These were continuously in print until he combined the titles as Teach yourself human anatomy and physiology in 1974 (London, English Universities Press). The last edition appeared in 2001. His magnum opus A history of Orthopaedics (Parthenon, 1989) is the definitive work on the subject.

He married four times and had 11 children. He died on 16 July 2001 and was survived by his fourth wife, Sonja Hansen, and his children.

K M N Kunzru

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2001 323 756].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England