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Morgan Feely

Dr Morgan Feely, MB, ChB, MD, FRCP, FRCPI

Dr Morgan Feely, former Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology and Honorary Consultant Physician at the Leeds General Infirmary, died on 8 February 2011.

Born in Limerick in May 1945, Morgan Feely was educated at St Munchin’s College in that city.  He went on to read Medicine at University College Dublin, graduating MB, ChB in 1969.  He completed his pre-registration year at Limerick Regional Hospital before taking a post as Demonstrator in the Department of Pharmacology at University College Cork – a clear indication of what was to be a major element of his future career path.  He returned to hospital medicine in 1971, holding appointments at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.  In October 1974, he was appointed Registrar in Neurology at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork.

During these early years of his medical career, Morgan Feely developed a special interest in clinical pharmacology, notably in the drug treatment of epilepsy and the clinical pharmacology of anticonvulsant drugs.  In collaboration with Dr Noel Callaghan, his colleague at Cork, he published a number of important papers in this area.  In 1977, he was awarded his MD by University College Dublin for his thesis entitled ‘Prospective Studies of Anticonvulsant drugs’, which was based on the investigations carried out during his time as Registrar in Neurology at Cork. The thesis included some of the first prospective studies of the treatment of patients with epilepsy using a single drug (monotherapy).  In order further to extend and consolidate his expertise, Dr Feely held a Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at the University of Florida during 1977-78.  Here, he acted as an investigator in clinical trials and studied the pharmacokinetics of new drugs. 

On his return from the USA, Morgan Feely briefly held a number of locum appointments before being appointed in August 1979 as Tutor in Clinical Pharmacology, an appointment tenable jointly In the Department of Medicine (Leeds General Infirmary) and the Department of Pharmacology.  He made an immediately favourable impression and was appointed Lecturer in 1980 and, in 1984, Senior Lecturer with Honorary Consultant status.  He attained Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (MRCPI) in 1977 and became FRCPI in 1985.

In the words of one of his colleagues, Morgan Feely was fluent in the language of both the clinician and pharmacologist. His judgements were much respected by those with whom he worked and his specialised assistance was widely sought after and valued.  An outstanding clinician with excellent diagnostic skills (demonstrated shortly after his arrival in Leeds when he correctly identified a case of chronic arsenical polyneuritis, a diagnosis that had hitherto eluded his senior colleagues), he also continued his research on epilepsy.  At the same time, he branched out into other areas of clinical pharmacology, his background in anticonvulsants leading him into the fields of pharmacokinetics and therapeutic drug monitoring.  He also embarked on important new work on the assessment of patient compliance with prescribed drug therapy, and devised a significant new approach in this area.  One of Morgan Feely’s many strengths lay in his ability to come up with novel but practical ideas, capable of translation into simple clinical experiments.  His work on the treatment of catamenial epilepsy provided a further example of his capacity for devising original approaches.

Throughout his career at Leeds, Morgan Feely participated extensively in the teaching of pharmacology, clinical pharmacology/therapeutics and medicine at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  He was for a number of years the organiser of the therapeutics course for Final Year medical students.  He also taught candidates preparing for Part II of the MRCP and lectured to a wide range of health professionals, including GPs and pharmacists.  He was a first-class teacher, with a gift for lucid exposition and the ability to leaven his teaching with humorous asides.  Possessed of an open and friendly disposition, very approachable and with an enthusiasm that was contagious, Morgan Feely was an extremely well-liked, respected and trusted colleague, mentor and teacher.

Morgan’s interests outside medicine were many and varied and included fishing, sailing, a love of fine wine, antiques and golf. However his greatest passion was horse racing and there was nothing he liked better than making the annual visit to the Cheltenham Festival in March. His interest also extended into racehorse ownership and he was fortunate that several of the horses he had shares in were successful.

Opting to take early retirement in 2006, Morgan Feely retained a part-time association with the School of Medicine, as Senior Clinical Lecturer, for the next two years.

Dr Feely is survived by his wife, Mary, and a daughter, Kate, and two sons, Morgan and Donal.

The funeral took place on 11 February.