MacDonnell, Richard Lea, -1891

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MacDonnell, Richard Lea, -1891

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Dr. Richard Lea MacDonnell (1856-1891) was a son of Dr. Robert Lea MacDonnell (1818-1878) ¬– a well-known Dublin-born surgeon, author (founder of the Canadian Medical Journal), professor, and director of the Department of Clinical Medicine at McGill University. Richard MacDonnell grew up in Montreal, and was educated at Bishop’s College School in Lennoxville, QC before studying medicine at McGill University. MacDonnell graduated from McGill in 1876, then studied for a year in Europe and obtained an M.R.C.S. Upon his return, he was appointed one of the Demonstrators of Anatomy and subsequently assumed the position of senior demonstrator in charge of the Department of Practical Anatomy. MacDonnell was also appointed assistant physician and then physician at the Montreal General Hospital, as well as professor of clinical medicine at McGill until his death. In addition to his work as a clinician and professor, MacDonnell was a regular contributor to the Montreal Medical Journal with many articles to his name. On July 31st, 1878, at the young age of 35, MacDonnell died of pulmonary disease, survived by his wife, mother, and sister. His friend and McGill colleague, Sir William Osler, wrote an obituary in the New York Medical Journal that stated: “Although only thirty-five years old, he had reached a position which gave scope to abilities of first-class order and afforded opportunities of impressing upon a large class of students those qualities of mind so essential in the teacher, so priceless to the taught – honesty, system, and painstaking care” (NYMJ, 54: 162, 1891).


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