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Obituaries

Derek Melville Prinsley

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2201 (Published 15 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2201
  1. Peter Prinsley

Derek Melville Prinsley was among the last the of the generation of doctors who served in the Royal Air Force during the second world war and among the last of the doctors who qualified before the start of the National Health Service (NHS) He became a pioneer of geriatric medicine, and his career spanned medical practice in three continents and more than 50 years of active clinical practice.

Derek Prinsley was born in West Hartlepool, the son of Abraham and Ada Prinsky. His father was a jeweller and tobacconist, and his mother, who was photographed in flapper dresses, was the first woman to drive a car in the town.

Medical students were fast tracked during the war and Derek qualified at the age of 21 at Newcastle as probably one of the youngest doctors in the country. He joined the RAF and served in UK airbases and in the Middle East in Aden as squadron leader and medical officer.

Ships transporting wounded servicemen from the Far East would call at the port of Aden and be exchanged for recuperating patients well enough to sail for home. Derek’s autobiography, entitled New Ideas for Old Concerns, describes the negotiation that would take place in the …

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