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Obituary: Dr Dermot McCracken, FRCP

We are very sorry to have to let members know that Dr Dermot McCracken, former Medical Officer in the University Health Service, died on 22nd August 2008, in his ninetieth year.

Dr McCracken was awarded the degree of BSc in Anatomy, Physiology and Anthropology by the University of Wales in 1939, graduating MB, BCh three years later and obtaining Distinctions in two subjects. In 1945 he was successful in the MRCP (London) examinations.

Dr McCracken acquired extensive clinical experience in both hospital medicine and general practice before coming to Leeds. After holding house jobs at hospitals in Cardiff, he worked at Sully Hospital, at that time the Chest Centre for South Wales. From 1944 to 1946, he was on the medical staff of the City General Hospital in Leicester, whence he went on to take up a post as Assistant Lecturer in Medicine in the Medical Unit at the Welsh National School of Medicine. Two of his papers, including one on asthma, were published in the British Medical Journal. His next appointment, from 1948 to 1950, was as Assistant Physician to the Ashton-under-Lyne group of hospitals in Lancashire, with responsibility for the medical and paediatric wards. He remained in that part of the world, when, in 1950, he became a partner in a large general practice in a semi-rural area on the Yorkshire-Lancashire border. He was to stay with this practice until 1962, quickly establishing a reputation as an approachable and thoroughly knowledgeable physician who kept himself fully abreast of advances in medicine, and as an individual of integrity and high principle.

These professional and personal qualities continued to be prominently displayed after Dr McCracken joined the University Health Service (then known as the Department of Student Health) in August 1962. His work was very highly valued by patients and colleagues alike, and his interest, energy and commitment were central to the Service being able to adapt successfully to a protracted period of expansion and development, as a result of both the growth in student numbers and an increasing involvement in other areas, most notably occupational health issues.

On reaching the age of sixty in 1979, Dr McCracken relinquished his full-time post but continued in a part-time capacity until September 1983. In retirement, he and his wife, moved first to Coniston in the Lake District and then to the Bristol area, to be closer to family.

Dr McCrackens wife, Margaret, also a doctor, died shortly before he did. They are survived by their children.

Published: 10 September 2008