Sheila Maclean Ross

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 14 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5834
  1. J R Y Ross

Sheila Maclean Ross was the daughter of Dr James Ross, consultant ophthalmologist at Carlisle. The day after she was born, her father wrote (to her older brother): “Her name is Sheila Maclean Ross. If she had been a boy, the name would (perhaps!) have been Heila, for a Healer is a Doctor. I suppose Sheila (or Shealer) is a “lady-doctor” or “doctoress,” or something else you can invent for yourself. Joking apart, she is a very nice little girl.”

Eighteen years later Sheila Ross started at St Andrews Medical School (1941-6). After five years of hospital posts, mainly in paediatrics in Sunderland and Booth Hall Children’s Hospital Manchester (where she co-authored an Archives of Disease in Childhood paper on 286 consecutive cases of gastro-enteritis in infancy1), she entered general practice with her DCH.

She practised in Stockton Heath for 36 years, seeing all kinds of patients, with a special interest in older people.

She served with St John Ambulance for 30 years, became area surgeon, and was awarded a certificate of appreciation.

She retired to Heversham, Cumbria

For many years (1990-2009), she worked in Preston as a volunteer for the Gentle Approach to Cancer, continuing to act as a doctor till ill health intervened when she was 85.

She saw all the new patients from a wide area, providing support, advice, and hope. She drew on her personal experience as a doctor and a cancer patient (she had had three separate primary cancers, with extensive surgery and radiotherapy and significant side effects).

At the age of 80 she learned to write with her left hand, as radiotherapy damage from treatment of her first primary breast cancer had gradually produced nerve damage leading to paralysis of her right arm.

In her last few years she attended the Quaker meeting in Kendal regularly.

Her interests were riding, art, music, opera, international travel, fell walking, and her wide circle of friends.

She is survived by Ruth and three nephews, one of whom is a doctor.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5834


  • Former general practitioner, Stockton Heath, Warrington (b 1923; q St Andrews 1946; DCH), d 14 January 2011.


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