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Biographical entry Gleadell, Leslie Westfield (1906 - 1985)

MRCS and FRCS 1935; MB BS Melbourne 1929; DGO 1933; MGO 1967; FRACS 1938; MRCOG 1936; FRCOG 1947.

24 March 1906
Burley, Victoria, Australia
6 April 1985
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Born in 1906 Leslie Westfield Gleadell was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne, before going on with a scholarship to Melbourne University. As a youth he suffered from a disease of the hip joint, wrongly diagnosed as tuberculosis, and the prescribed long immobilisation left him with irreversible joint changes which handicapped him for the rest of his life.

At the University he qualified MB, BS in 1929, obtained the DGO in 1933 and proceeded to the MGO in 1967. He was successively resident medical officer, senior medical officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and house surgeon at the Women's Hospital, Melbourne. On coming to England in 1934, he was on the staff first of the Evelina Hospital for Children, London, and then of the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton. He gained the Fellowship of the College in 1935. At this time he was undecided whether to specialise in general surgery or obstetrics and gynaecology, but an appointment to the Hospital for Women, Soho Square, led him to choose gynaecology and he gained the MRCOG in 1936, becoming a Fellow of that College in 1947.

Returning to Australia in 1938 he practised privately, but also gained appointments as assistant gynaecologist and assistant surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Unable to serve in the second world war because of his hip disability, he was tutor in obstetrics and gynaecology at Ormond and Trinity Colleges from 1938 to 1944; later he became an examiner in gynaecology for Melbourne University and head of the gynaecology department of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, a post he held until his retirement in March 1966. He was active in the affairs of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Australia, being a member for many years of that College's Australian Regional Council of which he was successively honorary secretary and Vice-President.

His chief interest was in surgical gynaecology and his operative skill was put to good effect in difficult procedures especially those concerned with gynaecological cancers. He was the first person in Australia to perform radical vulvectomy. Outside gynaecological surgery he was interested in rectal prolapse and, with E S R Hughes, devised an operation which became a standard procedure.

He died in his sleep on 6 April 1985 survived by his wife, Jeanne.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 1985, 143, 312-313].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England