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Biographical entry Nield, Alexander Cowell (1931 - 1996)

MRCS and FRCS 1967; MB BS Adelaide 1956; FRACS 1968.

16 September 1931
Adelaide, Australia
1 February 1996
General practitioner, General surgeon and Transplant surgeon


Sandy Nield was born in Adelaide on 16 September 1931, the son of Hugh Kingsley Nield, a grain merchant, and Dorothy Hammond, née Cowell. He attended St Peter's College, Adelaide, whence he won a university bursarship to Adelaide University Medical School. There he won the Dr Davies Thomas scholarship, played for the University 'A' team at football, was a formidable hurdler and was active in the University Regiment. After qualification he spent a year at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and then entered general practice in Elizabeth, a suburb of Adelaide, where he spent seven years before returning to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as a registrar.

He married Rosemary Piper, a physiotherapist, in 1957 and took his wife and young family to England in 1965. There he held a number of junior posts at the Mayday Hospital in Croydon and King George's Hospital in Ilford, and passed the FRCS. He returned to Adelaide as senior registrar in 1968, spent three months at St Mark's Hospital in London and then joined the Australian Civilian Surgical Team at Bien-Hoa during the Vietnam war in 1970. On returning to Adelaide he continued in private practice, but served the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as part of the renal transplant team, specialising in donor retrieval. Before any surgical procedure patients would receive detailed instructions on all aspects of management, often including diagrams and caricatures of patients in various poses. 'Informed consent' was simply a way of life for him.

Although plagued by heart disease since 1980 and undergoing bypass surgery, Sandy Nield kept up his love of sport until the end, and it was while playing in a golf competition that he died of an acute myocardial infarction (on the tenth tee) on 1 February 1996. He was survived by his wife, daughter Susan, a general practitioner, and son Simon, a hydrologist, their son Peter having predeceased him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [S Aust Med Rev April 1996, 14].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England