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Biographical entry Thomas, Dillwyn Malcolm Ewart (1907 - 1985)

MRCS 1933; FRCS 1954; LRCP 1933.

Nantymoel, Wales
6 October 1985
Thoracic surgeon


Dillwyn Malcolm Ewart Thomas was born at Nantymoel, South Wales, in 1907 and was educated at Monmouth School where he played in the rugby football team and gained his first XV colours. He then entered St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School which he also represented at rugby and qualified in 1933. Shortly before taking his final examinations he developed a pleural effusion which was treated with prolonged rest and this inspired an interest in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. His initial appointment was as house surgeon at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, and in 1934 he joined the staff of the Welsh National Memorial Association, which was responsible for prevention and treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. He was appointed first assistant medical officer at Glan Ely Hospital, Cardiff, and later thoracic surgeon at Sully Hospital, Glamorgan.

He joined the Territorial Army before the war and was called up into the Royal Army Medical Corps shortly after its outbreak. He was soon released to continue his civilian work at Sully, which became the regional centre for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. He was appointed consultant thoracic surgeon to the United Cardiff Hospitals in 1948 and passed his FRCS in 1954. Before the introduction of chemotherapy he was a strong advocate of a surgical approach to tension cavity disease of the lung. He also contributed to the literature on hydatid disease of the lung, writing articles in the British journal of surgery and chapters in standard textbooks. After the introduction of chemotherapy for tuberculosis he developed an interest in open heart surgery which he pioneered in Wales. He retired in 1972 but continued to live in South Glamorgan. He served as president of Dinas Powis Golf Club in 1985 and he played regularly up to the last. He had wide interests and was always a stimulating companion with a great sense of humour. He enjoyed his long retirement making excellent recoveries from two serious illnesses. He died on 6 October 1985 survived by his wife, two daughters, and five grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1986, 292, 147-8 with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England