S.T. Mc Collum


Stanley McCollum (1918-1997) died on March 16th in the hospital to which he had devoted his life, the Adelaide. A lifelong friendship does not make it easy to know how to start an appreciation of such a man as Stanley. His life, professional and personal, was ruled by uncompromising integrity.

After a distinguished career at the Kings Hospital School, Stanley had an equally distinguished passage through Trinity College Medical School where he had honours in most of his examinations, finishing with first place and first class honours in surgery. At his chosen teaching hospital the Adelaide, he was awarded the Hudson Scholarship and Gold Medal for the best student of his year. He graduated M.B. in 1941, and was appointed house surgeon and house physician at the Adelaide Hospital.

Despite the difficulties in wartime England, Stanley proceeded to surgical training in the London area, culminating in the post chief assistant in surgery at the Hillingdon Hospital, Middlesex. During this time he graduated FRCSI in 1944 and FRCS Eng., in 1947.

In 1948 Stanley was appointed Consulting Surgeon to the Adelaide Hospital. He developed his interest in paediatric surgery and in 1950 was appointed surgeon, to the National Children's Hospital. In 1952 he joined the Rotunda Hospital as consultant to the neonatal unit. In 1972 he was appointed consultant surgeon to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children. In 1973 Stanley was appointed Regius Professor of Surgery at Trinity College, Dublin, a position in which he took great pride.

Stanley was greatly valued as a committee man, for his wise counsel and trenchant honesty. He was a member and chairman of the Medical Committee of the Adelaide Hospital, the National Children's Hospital, and the Federated Dublin Voluntary Hospitals. He was a member of the Central Council of the IMA, the committee of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons, and a member of the Board of the King's Hospital School. For many years he served on the council of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, was elected vice-president in 1974 and president in 1976.

Intense pressure of work took its toll on Stanley's health and he was advised to slow down easier said than done as he soon found out. Therefore, he took early retirement, and spent the next two years as Professor of Surgery at the King Faisal University Medical School in Dammam in Saudi Arabia, joining Professor William McGowan, Registrar of RCSI, on secondment for a year as head of the new department of surgery. Here, Stanley became a popular and much loved teacher of the undergraduate students.

Recognition of his professional stature brought many honours. He was an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. He was an honorary member of the Section of Paediatric Surgery, RACS and of the Alberta Thoracic Society. He was former president of the Section of Surgery of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Ireland.

In his youth Stanley was a keen and talented sportsman. Captain of schools' cricket, a schools' rugby inter provincial trialist, he played senior rugby in Trinity and Wanderers. His accolade was Master of the Knights of the Campanile at TCD. In later years, he was a enthusiastic golfer, and in due course he was elected president of Carrickmines Golf Club.

Stanley was a loyal member of the Church of Ireland. He loved St Patrick's Cathedral, and for many years it was his habit to combine Sunday Matins with rounds at the adjacent Adclaide Hospital. Sadly, increasing deafness diminished the pleasure of his worship, but he continued to attend.

In 1951, Stanley married Maeve Walker, then a medical student at Trinity College and the Adelaide Hospital. Their three sons grew up in their beautiful home in Lucan, with its large walled garden which became the focus of Maeve's passionate love of gardening. Stanley and Maeve loved their home, and were generous hosts to a large circle of friends and colleagues.