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Biographical entry Vail, Derrick Tilton (1898 - 1973)

Hon FRCS 1950; MD Harvard 1923.

15 May 1898
Cincinnati, USA
19 April 1973


Derrick Tilton Vail was born in Cincinnati on 15 May 1898, and did his medical course at Harvard University, graduating MD in 1923. He then spent a year as ophthalmic intern at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and in 1926 he became instructor in ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He was promoted Professor in 1937, served with the Army in the second world war and became chief consultant in ophthalmology to the Surgeon General.

After the war, in 1945, he went to Northwestern University, Chicago as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, and remained there till his retirement in 1966. Vail held office in several of the American specialist societies in ophthalmology, and was awarded a number of medals for his outstanding contributions to his subject. He was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1958. He was editor of the American journal of ophthalmology from 1940 till 1965, and was the editor of the fourth edition of Gifford's Textbook of ocular therapeutics, 1947.

Vail was on a visit to England when he died in London suddenly from a heart attack on 19 April 1973.

Sources used to compile this entry: [J Amer Med Ass 1973, 224, 1241].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England