Harold Sheehan

Harold Leeming Sheehan (1900-1988) was an English physician and pathologist

initiated much experimental work designed to elucidate the pathogenesis of both pituitary necrosis and renal cortical necrosis

Sheehan Syndrome

  • Born on August 4, 1900 in Carlisle
  • Educated at Carlisle Grammar School
  • 1921 – MB ChB, University of Manchester
  • 1921-1927 General practice with older brother in the practice of their father Dr Patrick Sheehan
  • 1927 – Demonstrator, and later a lecturer, in the department of pathology in the University of Manchester. Working with John Shaw Dunn, whose chief interest was in renal disease, with whom he undertook experimental work on renal function
  • 1931 – MD, thesis on the deposition of dyes in the mammalian kidney
  • 1932 – MSc, thesis on the renal elimination of injected urea and creatinine
  • 1934 – Rockefeller medical fellowship to continue his studies on renal function; department of pharmacology, Johns Hopkins medical school in Baltimore
  • 1935-1941 Director of research at the Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital, quickly becoming an international expert on the pathology of pregnancy.
  • Over the course of six short years, Sheehan: analysed the effects of obstetrical shock; differentiated fatty liver of delayed chloroform poisoning and primary fatty liver of pregnancy; demonstrated reactivation of latent rheumatic heart disease induced by pregnancy; clarified the effects of eclampsia upon the liver and kidneys; identified the encephalopathy of hyperemesis gravidarum as Wernicke’s disease; recognized the association between concealed accidental haemorrhage and renal cortical necrosis and recognized that obstetrical shock and haemorrhage could induce necrosis of the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland…
  • 1941-1946 Deputy director of pathology to the allied forces in Italy, with the rank of colonel
  • 1965 – Retired from chair of pathology;
  • Died on October 25, 1988

Medical Eponyms
Sheehan syndrome (1937)

Key Medical Contributions

Major Publications




Eponymous terms

Cite this article as: Gary Zhang and Mike Cadogan, "Harold Sheehan," In: LITFL - Life in the FastLane, Accessed on May 29, 2022, https://litfl.com/harold-sheehan/.


the person behind the name

Doctor in Australia. Keen interest in internal medicine, medical education, and medical history.

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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