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Biographical entry Vlasto, Michael Ernest Theodore (1888 - 1979)

MRCS 1911; FRCS 1913; MB BS London 1911.

12 February 1888
29 May 1979
ENT surgeon


Michael Vlasto, the only child of Greek parents, was born in Paris on 12 February 1888. His father was a civil engineer who had worked with Ferdinand de Lesseps, and his mother, Helen Zarifi, was the daughter of a banker in London. After education at a French lycée and at Winchester College he started his medical course at University College, London, and qualified from University College, Hospital, in 1911. He then held appointments as house surgeon, resident obstetric officer, anatomy demonstrator and clinical assistant in the ENT department at the hospital and University College, and was also assistant casualty medical officer at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Having passed the FRCS in 1913 he served as a temporary naval surgeon throughout the first world war until 1919, having seen action at the battles of Coronel and the Falkland islands in HMS Canopus. After two years in charge of the ENT departments of the Royal Naval hospitals at Portsmouth and Malta, he decided to continue in that specialty after the war.

Following demobilisation he was appointed as ENT surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital, the Queen's Hospital for Children, St Luke's Hostel for the Clergy, the West Herts Hospital and later at the West London Hospital. He wrote many articles in the medical press and published a book for nurses and dressers on diseases of the ear, nose and throat. He was also a regular presenter of interesting ENT cases at the Royal Society of Medicine and, while practising from Wimpole Street, was a prominent member of the Anglo-Greek community in London.

Vlasto was a man of small stature and immense vitality with a keen interest in the widest range of subjects. He had great personal warmth and charm, and a genuine interest in people. In 1947 he retired to Westerham in Kent where he passed many years of enjoyment in the pleasures of his garden, and the company of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In 1919 he married Chrissy Croil of Aberdeen, a naval VAD whom he had met at the Royal Naval Hospital, Bighi, in Malta. They had one son, who died at the age of 17, and three daughters. When he died at the age of 91, on 29 May 1979, he was survived by his wife and daughters.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1979, 2, 138].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England