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Michael Buchanan

Dr Michael F G Buchanan MB ChB FRCPEd DCH

We are very sorry to let colleagues know that Dr Michael Buchanan, former Senior Lecturer and honorary Consultant Paediatrician in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health (Leeds General Infirmary), died on 15th January 2012.

Michael Buchanan was born in 1920 and graduated in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1944.  He gained further clinical experience first as Resident House Physician at the Southern General Hospital in Edinburgh and later as an Assistant in General Practice at Polmont, Midlothian.  He then spent two years on military service as a Surgeon-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), his postings including Gibraltar and Malta.  Demobilised from the Royal Navy in 1947, he became a Paediatric Registrar at Leeds General Infirmary, initially under the auspices of a Government scheme for ex-service personnel.  He had a close association with the University Department of Paediatrics and Child Health from the outset and, in 1951, was appointed Lecturer.  He was accorded honorary Consultant status by the hospital authorities in 1956.  A Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh since 1950, he was elected a Fellow in 1959.  Within the University, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1963.

With his flair for organisation, Dr Buchanan assumed a considerable measure of responsibility over many years for the organisation and delivery of teaching in paediatrics, and for the development of the clinical facilities necessary to sustain this.  He himself was a highly gifted and enthusiastic teacher, whose animated lectures and tutorials had a lasting impact on many generations of students.  He readily embraced technological advances for teaching purposes, devoting considerable time and care to the production of an extensive range of well-received videotapes and setting up an audiovisual facility to support students in their own learning.

As a clinician, Michael Buchanan was expert in the care of newborn babies.  He also built up extensive expertise in the difficult medico-social problems of non-accidental injury.  His help in this area was frequently sought by colleagues and he served as medical adviser to the NSPCC Regional Office and Special Unit in Leeds.

When Dr Buchanan retired in 1983, after more than thirty years in post, his head of department paid warm tribute to his equable temperament, his profound personal concern for all those with whom he came into contact and his happy disregard for pomp, all of which had helped make him a colleague held in deep affection by staff of all ages.

In retirement, Dr Buchanan retained his zest for life.  A keen gardener with a glorious garden of his own, he provided sage horticultural advice and help to many friends.   Renewing an interest he had held during his youth, he later joined the White Rose Canoe Club, proving fearless in sampling all aspects of the sport (placid, sea and white water) until well into his eighties. He subsequently became Vice-President of the club. 

Michael Buchanan’s wife, Jessie, died in 2007.  He returned to Edinburgh in 2009 to be with his family, and bought a small powered boat for trips on the Scottish lochs with them.

Dr Buchanan leaves a son, David, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The funeral has taken place.  A memorial event, details of which may be obtained by telephoning (0113) 266 4601, is to be held at Weetwood Hall, Leeds, at 12.30 pm on Friday, 17th February 2012.