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Biographical entry Tindall, Victor Ronald (1928 - 2010)

CBE 1992; FRCS 1991; MB ChB Liverpool 1951; DObst RCOG 1955; MD Liverpool 1962; MSc Manchester 1976; FRCS Edin 1961; MRCOG 1961; FRCOG 1974.

1 August 1928
11 June 2010
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Victor Tindall was professor of obstetrics and gynaecology in Manchester. He was awarded a scholarship to Wallasey Grammar School, where, as well as his academic achievements, he was a dazzling athlete and rugby player. In track events he won the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-yard records, together with the high and the long jump, winning the award of victor ludoram. His crowning achievement was being selected to play rugby for his county, Cheshire, whilst still at school.

At Liverpool University, where he was also a scholar, he played rugby for the university and also for New Brighton. He subsequently played for the Royal Air Force, England and the Barbarians. His playing career ended when he injured his neck and then he became a referee, but he was involved with the game all his life.

He qualified MB ChB in 1951 and, after junior posts, which included obstetrics and gynaecology, he acquired the diploma in obstetrics. He spent his National Service in the Royal Air Force, examining recruits for the Women's Royal Air Force.

Returning to Liverpool for his specialist training in Norman Jeffcoate's department, he became a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1961. He then set aside clinical work to enter the physiology department to prepare for his doctorate in medicine. He had a special interest in liver disease and this is reflected in his work on liver disease in pregnancy. In 1987 Tindall edited the fifth edition of the landmark textbook Principles of gynaecology (Butterworth), originally edited by Jeffcoate.

In 1965 he moved to Cardiff as a senior lecturer at the Welsh National School of Medicine, becoming a consultant at the University Hospital in 1970. In 1967 he was elected to serve on the council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He completed four terms in office and was elected senior vice president from 1993.

In 1972 he left Cardiff to become professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Victoria University in Manchester. There his role as an educator is aptly demonstrated by his bibliography. Coupled with this was a busy gynaecological surgical practice with a special interest in radical pelvic surgery. He had to combine his demanding clinical load with the administrative duties of being a professor, and he had an excellent reputation for always honouring all his commitments, always sending word ahead if he knew he was going to be late for a meeting.

In addition he had a great interest in audit, with a major role in the triennial report on maternal mortality, which seeks to determine cause rather than blame when these tragic events arise. In this vein his work with the Royal College of Surgeons, when he served on the committee of the Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths (CEPOD), which was set up by Brendan Devlin in 1982 and reported for the first time in 1987. It later became a national enquiry of a similar title, initially into perioperative death and later for patient outcome. At one meeting of this committee there was a tense moment, which was resolved by taking the offended lady out to an elegant tea at the Waldorf Hotel, where her ruffled feathers were soothed and all was well.

In 1991 he became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons by election, a great distinction. He was appointed as the Simms-Black travelling professor in 1985 by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, visiting Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and Cyprus. This required him to give many lectures and occasional surgical demonstrations at each port of call.

Victor Tindall married Brenda Fay in 1955. They had two children, a son and a daughter, who later gave them the joy of seven grandchildren, all of them boys. Sadly, his later years were clouded by Parkinson's disease and he died on 11 June 2010. From his own description of his interests in Who's Who, it was clear that outside medicine and his family, he had one major interest - rugby.

Michael Pugh

The Royal College of Surgeons of England