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Biographical entry McKenzie, William Stewart (1908 - 1981)

MRCS 1933; FRCS 1938; MA MB BCh Cambridge 1933; LRCP 1933.

30 September 1981
ENT surgeon


William Stewart McKenzie was born in Highgate in 1908, the son of a well-known ear, nose and throat surgeon, Dan McKenzie, FRCS. After gaining the Natural Science Tripos at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, he graduated in medicine from the Middlesex Hospital, in 1933. Following resident appointments he was registrar and clinical tutor at the Central London Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital and passed the FRCS in 1938. He served in the medical branch of the RAF throughout the second world war and then returned to the Ferens Institute of the Middlesex Hospital on a Bernard Baron Research Scholarship. He was subsequently appointed consultant to the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, the Prince of Wales Hospital and the Maida Vale Hospital for Nervous Diseases. He was especially kind and helpful to ex-service doctors struggling to get established in specialist practice, and he wrote books on ear, nose and throat diseases for general practitioners and medical students. He was an authority on otosclerosis and was translator and joint editor of Portmann's Surgery of deafness in 1964.

William McKenzie founded the Semon Club a few years after the War, and this enabled many ENT consultants in London and the home counties, a number of whom were working single-handed at that time, to meet and discuss unusual or difficult cases. He was a lively conversationalist, with a ready wit and considerable depth of knowledge who greatly enjoyed both his busy professional life and his subsequent retirement to southern Spain. In 1935 he married Nan Fairbrother who was the author of several books and a well-known landscape architect. He died in Spain on 30 September 1981, survived by two sons, the elder Dan Peter is a reader in tectonics at Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Royal Society and the younger, now a naturalised American, is a landscape architect in Washington, DC.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1981, 283, 1130].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England