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Obituary of Robert Lindsay Mackay

British Medical Journal Volume 283 15 August 1981:



Dr. R.L. Mackay, who was formerly consultant physician at the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton, died on 2 July. He was 84.

Robert Lindsay Mackay was born on 30 July 1896 and educated at Hillhead High School, Glasgow. He was commissioned in 1915 in the 11th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and served in France until 1918. He was awarded the Military Cross at Ypres and later a bar during the battle of Soissons.

On demobilisation in 1919 he took up medical studies at Glasgow University, graduating in 1923. He became president of the students' representative council, founded the early 'twenties dining club, and continued his military activities in the officers' training corps - a remarkable series of endeavours.

After hospital residencies Dr. Mackay moved to Wolverhampton in 1924 to take up general practice in the Penn area. In 1927 he was appointed honorary assistant physician at the Royal Hospital and he proceeded MD, the subject of his thesis being "postanaesthetic blood sugar and renal threshold." In 1928 he was made honorary physician. During the second world war he volunteered for active service in the RAMC, serving as a lieutenant-colonel in Palestine and Normandy, and later in Norway to treat the repatriated Russian prisoners. He was awarded the OBE for military services. On his return to civil life he resumed his work as honorary physician at the Royal Hospital and with the beginning of the NHS became consultant physician with additional duties in the Dudley and Stourbridge group.

Dr Mackay retired in 1961, devoting himself to genealogy - he published a history of the clan Mackay which was distributed to the clan - travel, visiting clansmen and family far and wide, and archaeology. He continued to play golf until a year before his death, giving up only because of failing eyesight, and the same year he attended the 50th jubilee dinner of the early 'twenties dining club.

Of handsome appearance and military bearing, Bob Mackay was highly respected and well loved in the medical community of Wolverhampton and the Black Country. He was a founder member and past president of the West Midlands Association of Physicians, to whose deliberations he contributed the same quizzical brand of common sense that he used to such effect in his clinical practice. He was an excellent and erudite after-dinner speaker. He was a friendly person who unaffectedly enjoyed the company of his fellow men, and when colleagues fell on bad times Bob would go to extraordinary lengths to lighten their distress. His cheerful, unfailing equanimity reflected the happy serenity of his family life with his wife Margaret, herself a doctor and formerly a fellow student, and their four children and their grandchildren - one daughter is medically qualified and one grandchild is studying medicine at Cambridge. His wife was a great support to Bob in all his activities and associations over 56 years - enviable good fortune indeed. - JVSAD, HBY.

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