Name: Leonard Thomas Shea
MBBS – University of Sydney (1937)
DA – University of Sydney (1946)
Date of Birth: 30 November 1912
Date of Death: 26 August 1987
Leonard Thomas Shea, born 30 November 1912 in Queensland, initially studied teaching in the hopes of becoming a music teacher. In 1931, however, Shea changed his career path and graduated from the University of Sydney with his medical degree in 1937. Shea worked at numerous Sydney Hospitals including St Vincent’s, St Luke’s, Sydney Hospital and the Prince Henry Hospital. His dedication to anaesthetics has been acknowledged through his Fellowships to the Faculty of Anaesthetists in both Australia and England and his leadership positions attained in the Australian Society of Anaesthetists. His legacy also includes devoting time to the training of student anaesthetists.
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Leonard Thomas Shea was born on November 30, 1912 in Jondaryan, Queensland.[i] In 1930, Shea graduated from Brisbane Grammar School.[ii] He applied to Queensland Teachers’ Training College and completed only one year of his degree.[iii] The decision was made to enter into medical school at the University of Sydney. Shea completed his matriculation for the University of Sydney in 1931 and graduated with his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1937.[iv] He would later return to the University of Sydney in 1946 to complete a Diploma of Anaesthetics.[v] In 1938, Shea embarked on a very active career in anaesthetics.
Shea’s first placement as a resident medical officer was at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. He completed his second year of residency at St George District Hospital in Kogarah.[vi] On finishing his training, Shea became a Fellow in Anaesthetics of the New South Wales Postgraduate Committee at the Prince Henry Hospital before entering into General Practice. He practiced in Kings Cross, Sydney, until 1942.[vii]
From 1942 to 1946, Shea served in World War II as a specialist anaesthetist. He rose to the rank of Major. On returning to Australia, Shea served in many roles throughout Sydney.[viii]
His first three positions were honorary anaesthetist at Sydney (1947-1972) and St Vincent’s (1947-1973) Hospitals and the visiting anaesthetist at Concord Repatriation General Hospital (1946-1952).[ix] In 1950, he joined the Prince Henry Hospital as their part-time Director of Anaesthetics.[x]
Included in his early professional appointments are two positions with the State Cancer Council of New South Wales – senior anaesthetist (1956-1963) and research fellow (1963-1965).[xi] Shea was still practicing at Sydney, St Vincent’s and St Luke’s Hospitals in 1980.[xii]
In the 1950s and 1960s, Shea was also able to contribute significantly to the societies and universities supporting anaesthetics. He was the post-graduate trainer in anaesthesia at the University of Sydney eventually serving as Chairman of the Court of Examiners Final in FARACS (1965-1960).[xiii] This position led to his appointment as Chief Examiner of the Diploma of Anaesthetics at the University of Sydney (1959-1963).[xiv]
As well as his numerous appointments, Shea was affiliated with the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) serving as their President in 1964.[xv] Previously, he had held the position of honorary secretary and treasurer of the ASA New South Wales branch. Alongside this membership he joined FARACS and was Dean from 1964 to 1966.[xvi] For his tireless work and consistent dedication to anaesthetics, Shea was honoured with a Foundation Fellowship to the FARACS in 1952 and a Fellowship to the Royal College of Surgeons in England.[xvii] In 1980, Shea won the ANZCA Medal for his service to anaesthesia.[xviii]
Outside of anaesthetics, Shea enjoyed a round of golf and sailing on his yacht.
[i] Australian Military Forces, ‘Attestation Form for Special Forces Raised for Service in Australia; Shea, Leonard Thomas’, National Archives of Australia, Canberra, 1939, Series No. B883 NX116632.
[ii] Leonard Thomas Shea, ‘Shea, Leonard Thomas. Born 30.11.12 at Jondaryan, Queensland.’, Citation, 1980, ANZCA Archives, Series 11.
[iv] University of Sydney, ‘Senior Year Book: 1937’, University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine, 1937, p. 118.
[v] Leonard Thomas Shea, ‘Exordium’, Application Form, 1952, Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History: VKGM 6903.28.
[vi] Leonard Thomas Shea, ‘Shea, Leonard Thomas. Born 30.11.12 at Jondaryan, Queensland.’.
[vii] Ibid.[viii] Australian Military Forces, ‘Attestation Form for Special Forces Raised for Service in Australia; Shea, Leonard Thomas’.[ix] Leonard Thomas Shea, ‘Shea, Leonard Thomas. Born 30.11.12 at Jondaryan, Queensland.’.[x] Ibid.[xi] Ibid.[xii] Ibid.[xiii] Ibid.[xiv] Ibid.[xv] Australian Society of Anaesthetists, ‘ASA Presidents’, 2015, Online: https://www.asa.org.au/ASA/About_us/History_of_the_Society/Past_Presidents/Past_Presidents.aspx.[xvi] Leonard Thomas Shea, ‘Shea, Leonard Thomas. Born 30.11.12 at Jondaryan, Queensland.’.[xvii] Leonard Thomas Shea, ‘Exordium’.[xviii] Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, ‘ANZCA Medal’, 2015, Online: http://www.anzca.edu.au/about-anzca/our-awards/anzca-medal.html; Faculty of Anaesthetists Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, ‘Faculty of Anaesthetists R.A.C.S. Medal’, Invitation, 26th February 1980.
- ‘Lenard Shea’, Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History VKGM: 6912.
- Leonard Thomas Shea, ‘Exordium’, Application Form, 1952, Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History: VKGM.