General Internal Medicine
Designatory Letters: 
MB Edin 1938, MRCP Edin 1941, Fellowship 1947

(Contributed by John F Munro)

John MacLeod was born on 8th May 1915 in Kirkhill, Invernesshire, and died in Edinburgh on 4th April 2006. He was educated at George Watson’s College and Edinburgh University, graduating MB,ChB with Honours in 1938. During the war he served in the RAMC. He obtained the membership of the College in 1941 and was elected FRCPE in 1947.

John was appointed as Consultant Physician in the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh in 1950 and Consultant for the Clinic for Rheumatic Disorders at the Royal Infirmary. He was an excellent diagnostician and a caring physician. Always caring towards his patients, as he practised his own brand of holistic medicine, encompassing every aspect of his patients’ welfare. He was before his time in recognising and treating the psychological impact of physical ill health.

John was greatly respected by his colleagues and, unusually for somebody without full-time university status, was Chairman of the University Department of Medicine from 1971 to 1978. His tenure was characterised by his commitment, wisdom and integrity.

John MacLeod was an inspirational teacher w ho had the knack of presenting complex problems with great clarity. He praised – rather than criticised- individual students and his cliniques were very popular. However, his contribution to medical education extended far beyond Edinburgh. One of his books – Clinical Examination – was first published in 1964 and subsequently renamed MacLeod’s Clinical Examination in recognition of his contribution. Now in its 11th edition the book has sold over 500,000 copies. Such was John’s reputation that Sir Stanley Davidson handed to him the editorship of Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine which has now sold over 2 million copies. John edited 6 editions. He was a meticulous editor who paid equal attention to ensuring that the contents were accurate and that the language was concise and unambiguous.

By improving the quality of patient care internationally John MacLeod greatly enhanced the reputation of Edinburgh Medicine. He will be remembered by generations of Collegiate Members and Fellows of our College. Above all he was much loved by his patients, colleagues, friends and family. His 2 sons and a daughter survive him.