Pioneering paediatrician. Born on Skye, Mitchell educated at Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow and graduating in medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1944. Following wartime service in the navy and junior medical positions, he was appointed a Lecturer in Child Health in the University of St Andrews, and Consultant Paediatrician to the Dundee Teaching Hospitals in 1955, with a specific remit for neonatal studies. In 1963, he gained the Chair in Child Health in the University of Aberdeen, where he was confronted almost immediately by Aberdeen's typhoid epidemic.
Interested in the development of low birth-weight babies, he developed the Aberdeen System for assessing gestational age based on the external characteristics of a baby. He founded the pioneering Raeden Pre-School Assessment Centre in Aberdeen and was also responsible for planning the paediatric facilities in the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, where he held the James Mackenzie Chair of Child Health from 1973 until his retirement in 1985. Here he developed the new field of Community Child Health.
Mitchell served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Dundee (1978-81) and was a member of the General Medical Council. Overseas, he worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and helped create medical schools in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. A prodigious author of scientific papers, he wrote the influential book Child Health in the Community and produced editions of Ellis's Textbook of Paediatrics. Mitchell was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
Mitchell will be remembered as one of the most distinguished paediatricians of his generation.