Daniel MarchacBMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f60 (Published 16 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f60
- Barry M Jones
Daniel Marchac was of Russian extraction, the family having left Russia after the revolution in 1917 and settled in France. There was a surgical line running from a great-grandfather, Baron General Alexandre Von Spengler, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon in St Petersburg who counted the Tsar among his patients, to his father’s cousin Victor Marchak, a general surgeon in Paris after the first world war. The spelling of the family name was changed to Marchac from the original Marchak after the second world war.
Daniel became the head of the family at the age of 13 when his father, a successful railway engineer, died. The young Daniel reassured his mother that he would always take care of her, a promise that he kept until the end of her life, in her 90s. He lunched with her every Thursday, sitting in the same chair he had done as a child. Daniel’s interest in surgery was stimulated at the age of 15, when he read an article on orbital surgery—unbeknown to him, a commentary on Paul Tessier’s pioneering early work in craniofacial surgery. He studied at medical school in Paris and after military service pursued a general surgical and plastic surgical residency with three highly regarded surgeons—Professor Dufourmentel, Dr Morel-Fatio, and Dr Mouly. Whenever possible Daniel also took the opportunity to watch Tessier operate. Unusually for a European at the time, in 1968 he travelled to America to study with three American plastic surgical giants—Ralph Millard in Miami, and John Converse and Tom Cronin in Houston. His training gave him an unusually wide view of plastic surgical techniques and the wider world, …