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Donald Herron Young

Former consultant surgeon Warrington and emergency physician Windsor, Ontario (b New Liskeard, Northern Ontario, 5 September 1906; q Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, 1930; OBE, TD, FRCS Ed), died from congestive heart failure in Windsor, Ontario, on 7 November 2002.

Not liking the way Hitler was talking, Donald joined the Manchester Territorial 12th (2nd Western) General Hospital as its surgeon in 1935. It became the 19th General Hospital on the outbreak of the second world war and was sent to Egypt in July 1940 to become a base hospital at Fayed in the Canal Zone. In August 1942, he joined the 8th Army with No 5 Field Surgical Unit, learnt how to transport wounded soldiers long distances more comfortably, and was mentioned in dispatches.

Donald’s hobby in Egypt was languages and the compilation of a phonetic dictionary with a 100 words in a dozen languages. With this he could examine a patient, diagnose a problem, and reassure the patient in his or her own tongue. One acutely distended abdomen was cured by a catheter after asking the man, "Avaytay orinato ogee," and hearing a frantic "No."

In 1944 in Normandy, Donald received the OBE given to the 108 British General Hospital for its work in caring for 5000 wounded in two weeks during the Battle of the Falaise Gap.

After the war, Donald returned to Warrington as a surgeon and became a consultant surgeon under the NHS in July 1948, remaining there until his retirement in 1971. He rejoined the Territorial Army in 1947, was awarded the Territorial Decoration in 1949, and retired after commanding the 8th (Liverpool) General Hospital in 1954.

In 1948 Donald joined Professor T N A Jeffcoate’s Liverpool Infertility Clinic and ran the male side for 23 years as an unpaid clinical assistant. He found and published the first case of bilateral absence of the vas deferens in 1949 and wrote several other papers on male infertility. He discovered a congenital link between obstructive epididymitis and lung disease. Published in 1972, it is now known as Young’s syndrome. Donald also published several papers on surgical subjects.

After retirement, Donald joined the Liverpool Regional Hospital Administration, as chairman of the commissioning team for Fazakerley Hospital—and was able to bring it to completion within its budget in 1974.

Donald joined the QE2 as ship’s surgeon and in January 1975 became principal medical officer on its first round the world cruise.

Donald returned to Canada in May 1977 to work in the emergency department at Grace Hospital, Windsor, Ontario. He learned new skills and worked as an emergency physician for seven years. He subsequently worked as a part time general practitioner until the end of 1994, when he finally retired at the age of 88.

Donald was always interested in travel and good food and wine. He had been a member of the International Wine and Food Society since 1947 and enjoyed it.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; two daughters, Elizabeth and Caroline; son Lindsay; five grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren. [Marjorie Young]