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BMJ. 2007 April 28; 334(7599): 907.
PMCID: PMC1857749

Michael Alan Casson

Educated at Manchester Grammar School, where his sprinting earned him the name “twinkle toes,” and Manchester University, where he was selected for a BSc in physiology, Mike spent time in pathology, virology, and public health medicine. His career path was, however, defined when he joined Dr Rudi Friedlander in his unique private general practice which served the local south Manchester population in general and had a central place in the care of the local Jewish, frequently German refugee, community. Evenings of significance involved Bach on the gramophone, brandy, and intense discussion on the interpretation of an ECG. The approach that Rudi uncovered for Mike was one he followed and refined until he died: a fierce intellectual rigour, a joy of the job, and meticulous care of his patients. Although he often wondered whether he should have pursued academia, Mike always concluded that it was the stories and characters he encountered which bought him the most pleasure. Nevertheless, he took great pride in being one of the few general practitioners at that time, 1970, who became MRCP.

Mike revelled in company, not least because it gave him the opportunity to dip into his fund of jokes, which were repeated so often that they equally became old friends. He never missed an opportunity to attend and contribute to medical meetings and to attend medical dinners, where he delighted in old acquaintances remade and new friendships formed. The quirky characters who populated his medical training, but who would never have made it through the modern selection and training processes, and the camaraderie of those days were fond topics. Medicine was ever a part of his day to day life and never something separate from it.

Mike was passionate about his skiing, and his yearly visit to the mountains of Davos and the friends he had made there were of great importance. As with everything he undertook, his enthusiasm never waned from first to last.

He retired from general practice in 1997 but continued to stay meticulously up to date to see certain patients and to develop a thriving insurance medical practice to which he bought his characteristic thoroughness and enthusiasm. He completed the paperwork for his last consultation minutes before heading off to the hospital for an operation from which he expected a speedy recovery and an equally rapid return to work. He felt himself the luckiest man alive that an incidental examination had revealed an atrial myxoma. Unforeseen complications ensued, and he passed away while in the intensive care unit.

He is survived by his wife; two sons, one of whom is a paediatrician; and four grandchildren.


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