A native of New York City, Albert S. Lyons was born in 1912 and graduated from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1936. After completing a two-year surgical internship at Beth Israel Hospital, he trained as a surgical resident at Mount Sinai under the tutelage of Dr. John Garlock. He went on to a long career as a surgeon at Mount Sinai, serving as Chief of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Clinic at The Mount Sinai Hospital and as Clinical Professor of Surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He also maintained a private practice and served as an attending surgeon at several other hospitals, including the Cabrini Medical Center from 1955 to 1978 and the Elmhurst City Hospital from 1966 to 1984.
As Chief of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Clinic, Dr. Lyons played a major role in the establishment of patient self-help groups to help surgical patients cope with the challenges of life after surgery. In 1951 he helped a group of ileostomy patients at Mount Sinai organize a club to boost morale and help one another; nicknamed the "QT Club" after the letters of the surgical wards where patients recovered after their ostomies, the group proved a success, and in 1952 Dr. Lyons published an article on the club in the Journal of the American Medical Association that inspired the formation of similar groups throughout the United States. In 1963, representatives of ostomate self-help groups from across the U.S. and Canada met for the founding convention of the United Ostomy Association (UOA). Dr. Lyons served for many years as the UOA's Medical Advisor, and when an International Ostomy Association (IOA) was formed in 1978, he served as a member of its medical board. In 1983 he was the recipient of the Archie Vinitsky Award, the IOA's highest honor. Throughout his life he gave generously of his time to help ostomy groups across North America and the world.