Scottish Medical Pioneers http://www.scotland.org.uk/table/history-of-scotland/scottish-medical-pioneers/ Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:57:55 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb sysadmin@helpmego.to (J25 Template) Alexander Fleming & Penicillin http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/alexander-fleming http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/alexander-fleming Sir Alexander Fleming / Medical Pioneers
  • Name  : Fleming
  • Born  : 1881
  • Died  : 1955
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1945, INvention and discovery of Penicillin  

The discovery of the natural antibiotic penicillium notatum, to give its scientific name, stands out as a medical landmark as important as the introduction of two other life-savers anaesthesia and antiseptics. Its discovery was also as though taken straight out of a Hollywood classic script.

Fleming was brought up at Lochfield Farm, near Darvel, Ayrshire. He worked in London for five years as a shipping clerk before studying medicine, in which he quickly showed aptitude as a researcher. Good researchers are probably born, and not taught, and Fleming eventually spent all of his professional life at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington.

The dreadful scenes of the trenches and work in a World War I hospital led Fleming to look for means of keeping contaminated wounds clean. He was the first to use antityphoid vaccines in humans, and pioneered the use of salvarsan against syphilis. But it took a fortuitous current of air and a wandering spore of mould to start off the train of research which led to one of the biggest savers of life - Penicillin.

In the summer of 1928 a glass plate was waiting to be washed on Fleming's lab sink. The plate had been carrying a sample of septicaemia organism, which causes blood poisoning. But Fleming noticed that an area of the sample had been colonised and cleared, presumably by an airborne spore. He soon found that this spore had the ability to kill or inhibit a variety of nasties, including those which cause wound inflammations, pneumonia, meningitis, diptheria etc. A colleague in the same building, who specialised in moulds, also worked on penicillium in a different experiment, and he confirmed its identity. (A suspicious, science-trained mind might also suspect that the possibility of contamination through an open window or door might be higher because of this fact, but we digress.)

Fleming, carrying out further research, found that the derived substance under test, which he named penicillin, was both difficult to produce in large quantities and not very efficient in a clinical situation. He had other, important work to do, and was in particular disappointed with its efficacy regarding influenza, a huge killer immediately following the First World War, when it killed more than the war itself. He downgraded its importance in his mind, and it was left to other researchers, in particular Florey and Chain at Oxford, to pick up the research which finally demonstrated its usefulness.

Penicillin was soon under mass production in the U.S.A. Fleming, who received no financial reward for his discovery, was knighted in 1944, and deservedly, along with Florey and Chain, received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945. His remains are buried in St Paul's Cathedral. But for his spotting the incredible accident on the glass plate and pursuing it, millions of lives would not have been saved by this 'magic bullet' known as penicillin.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 10:57:35 +0000
James Graham Medical http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/james-graham-medical http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/james-graham-medical

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James Graham / Medical Pioneers

  • Name  : Graham
  • Born  : 1745
  • Died  : 1794
  • Category  : Kings and Queens
  • Finest Moment : An early voice for the vegetarian movement

'One of the more eccentric medics, mixing patent medicines with vegetarianism'

James Graham was born in Edinburgh, in the Cowgate area. He studied medicine at Edinburgh University, but it is unclear as to whether he graduated; probably not, as he went on to make a name as 'a quack, and possibly a madman'.

It may be that he was regarded as a madman by some due to his promotion of vegetarianism, long before it became popular, but he was certainly regarded as a 'quack' due to his peddling of patent medicines and cures. This he proceeded to do throughout Britain and America, claiming members of the aristocracy and even minor royalty as clients.

An enthusiastic self-publicist, he was imprisoned several times for fraud. He died in 1794.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:03:22 +0000
James Lind http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/james-lind http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/james-lind

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James Lind / Medical Pioneers

  • Name  : Lind
  • Born  : 1716
  • Died  : 1794
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : Promotion of citrus fruits as a means of preventing scurvy at sea

Before the end of the 18th century, the biggest killer of seamen was not shipwreck, nor enemy guns, but the gradual onset of the symptoms of scurvy, due to a dietary lack of ascorbic acid or vitamin C. This is easily obtained from fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly the juice of lemons and limes; items not easily obtained on long, slow sea voyages. Scurvy showed itself as bleeding gums, degenerated muscles, swollen joints, tender skin, loose teeth, and wounds failing to heal properly.

Born in Edinburgh in 1716, Lind served as a naval surgeon (1739-48) before taking a medical degree at Edinburgh University. Lind was of course very aware of scurvy, and also that two centuries earlier the Dutch had recommended the use of citrus fruits and juices on long voyages. Lind refreshed this knowledge, writing A Treatise on Scurvy in 1754. Later, working as a physician at the Haslar Hospital for Royal Navy personnel at Gosport (1758-94), Lind also published On the Most Effectual Means of Preserving the Health of Seamen (1757).

His recommendations were finally adopted by the Royal Navy in 1795, the year after his death. Scurvy virtually disappeared overnight. For many years, the practice of eating limes by seamen of the Royal Navy gave rise to their nickname of 'limeys', a small price to pay for good health on board ship. Lind also researched into delousing procedures, the use of hospital ships in ports, and, in 1761, arranged for the shipboard distillation of seawater for drinking purposes.

He died at Gosport, on 13 July 1794.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:03:25 +0000
James Syme http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/james-syme http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/james-syme

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James Syme / Medical Pioneers

  • Name  : Syme
  • Born  : 1799
  • Died  : 1870
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : Founding of the General Medical Council in 1858.

An Edinburgh man, Syme described a discovery in 1818 that cloth soaked in a distillate made from coal tar was made waterproof. Unfortunately for his bank balance, he did not patent this, and it fell to Charles Macintosh to make a similar finding five years later.

In 1823 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, founding his own medical school the following year. He must have trod on a few bunions however, as he was barred from practising at the city's Royal Infirmary; instead, he founded his own hospital at Minto House (on the site of the present Royal Museum of Scotland), which operated until closing in 1833.

His social skills must have improved considerably, as that same year he became Professor of Clinical Surgery at Edinburgh University, and President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh from 1849-50. In medical politics too, he gained in stature, making suggestions in 1854 that led to the founding of the General Medical Council, the regulatory body of the medical profession.

He was by all accounts an excellent diagnostician and teacher. In 1848 he published Contributions to the Pathology and Practice of Surgery.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:03:28 +0000
James Young Simpson http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/james-young-simpson http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/james-young-simpson

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Sir James Young Simpson / Medical Pioneers

  • Name  : Simpson
  • Born  : 1811
  • Died  : 1870
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : Knocking himself out with chloroform

Another young entrant to Edinburgh University, aged 14, Simpson gained his medical degree in 1832, becoming Professor of Midwifery in 1835. At this time childbirth had to be endured without anaesthetic, and Simpson began to look for a suitable method of easing pain. In one famous experiment, using himself and several of his colleagues, he put everyone under the table using chloroform.

Finding a suitable anaesthetic was one thing, overcoming the prejudices of the day was another, and it says much for Simpson's social skills and courage that he persisted arguing the case for chloroform. It was often used as a drug, while many were unhappy with the thought of women being unconscious, even with a doctor present.

In 1847 Simpson was appointed as one Queen Victoria's Physicians in Scotland. This year also, he introduced chloroform as an anaesthetic. In America, the favourite anaesthetic was ether, introduced the year before by Morton, but it was more awkward to use.

The social breakthrough arrived in 1853, when Queen Victoria delivered her son Leopold under anaesthetic.

In 1866 Simpson was the first man to be made a baronet for services to medicine. There is a statue of him in Princes Street Garden. He died in Edinburgh, at 52 Queen Street, where there is an inscription.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:03:30 +0000
John Hunter http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/john-hunter http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/john-hunter

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John Hunter / Medical Pioneers

  • Name  : Hunter
  • Born  : 1728
  • Died  : 1793
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : Anatomical collection started, c.1761

The brother of William Hunter, the obstetrician, John Hunter was born on 13 February 1728 at Long Calderwood, near East Kilbride. When he was 20 he joined his brother on London, where he assisted in the preparation of dissections for William's courses in Anatomy. Over the course of a decade or more, he studied anatomy and surgery, the latter under Percival Pott. He became a house surgeon at St George's Hospital in 1756.

Experience as an army surgeon in the Seven Years' War from 1761-3 led him to write the first description of gunshot wounds, The Blood, Inflammation and Gunshot Wounds (published posthumously in 1794). At this time he also began his famous anatomical collection, which eventually grew to number over 13,000 specimens. Despite damage during World War II bombing, over 3,500 specimens remained intact, and can be viewed.

He is recognised as the father of comparative anatomy and was an enthusiastic communicator and teacher, founding the Lyceum Medicum Londinense and the Society for the Improvement of Medical Knowledge. He died in London, on 16 October 1793.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:03:36 +0000
John James Rickard http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/john-james-rickard http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/john-james-rickard John Hunter / Medical Pioneers
  • Name  : Hunter
  • Born  : 1728
  • Died  : 1793
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : Anatomical collection started, c.1761

The brother of William Hunter, the obstetrician, John Hunter was born on 13 February 1728 at Long Calderwood, near East Kilbride. When he was 20 he joined his brother on London, where he assisted in the preparation of dissections for William's courses in Anatomy. Over the course of a decade or more, he studied anatomy and surgery, the latter under Percival Pott. He became a house surgeon at St George's Hospital in 1756.

Experience as an army surgeon in the Seven Years' War from 1761-3 led him to write the first description of gunshot wounds, The Blood, Inflammation and Gunshot Wounds (published posthumously in 1794). At this time he also began his famous anatomical collection, which eventually grew to number over 13,000 specimens. Despite damage during World War II bombing, over 3,500 specimens remained intact, and can be viewed.

He is recognised as the father of comparative anatomy and was an enthusiastic communicator and teacher, founding the Lyceum Medicum Londinense and the Society for the Improvement of Medical Knowledge. He died in London, on 16 October 1793.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:03:37 +0000
Lord Joseph Lister http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/lord-joseph-lister http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/lord-joseph-lister Lord Joseph Lister / Medical Pioneers
  • Name  : Lister
  • Born  : 1827
  • Died  : 1912
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : Demonstration of the benefits of antiseptic methods in surgery

English by birth (Lyme Regis, Essex, 5 April 1827), Lister married a Scot, spent most of his professional life in Scotland, and carried out almost all of his medical research in Scottish hospitals. His father was an amateur scientist, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society for work which led to the modern achromatic microscope.

His parents were Quakers, and sent him to Quaker institutions which emphasised teaching in natural history and other sciences. Before he was 16 he decided on a surgical career. He qualified as a doctor at University College, London, in 1852. The following year he arrived in Edinburgh, to gain experience under Professor James Syme. Fate played its hand here, when a young surgeon was killed in the Crimea in 1854, leaving medical vacancies in Edinburgh. Lister obtained both, and also married Syme's daughter in 1856. They had a happy and childless marriage.

In 1860 he became Regius Professor of Surgery at Glasgow University, and a year later surgeon at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow. Lister was in charge of the new surgical block, where, despite the best of care during and after surgery, a horrifying 45-50% of surgical patients died from sepsis following amputations. This was between 1861 and 1865.

Lister theorised that infected wounds were caused by a pollen-like dust, too small to be seen with the naked eye. Accordingly, he attempted to protect the operation site by setting up a barrier between the surgeon's hands and instruments. He began by using carbolic acid, by soaking lint or calico and applying it to the wound.

At some point Lister must have become aware of the experiments being done by Louis Pasteur in France; when Pasteur showed that the fermentation of wine, for example, was cause by minute living organisms in the air. In fact, most of the organisms were to be found on the surgeon's hands and instruments, as well as any other material coming into contact with an open wound. The silk use for stitching then did not absorb much carbolic acid, so that Lister switched to using catgut which did. Between 1865 and 1869, surgical mortality in Lister's Male Accident Ward fell from 45% to 15%.

Lister succeeded Syme in the chair of Clinical Surgery at Edinburgh University in 1869, to stay for seven years. He toured Germany to great acclaim, and America to less, though Boston and New York appreciated his findings. He made his final move in 1877, when he became Professor of Surgery at King's College Hospital, London.

His wife died in 1892, and Lister retired the following year. He died on 10 February 1912, at Walmer, Kent.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:04:23 +0000
Scottish Medical Pioneers http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/medical-pioneer http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/medical-pioneer Scottish Medical Pioneers

James Graham / Medical Pioneers

An early champion of vegetarianism.

James Lind / Medical Pioneers

The founder of hygiene at sea, including treatment for scurvy.

James Syme / Medical Pioneers

Responsible for setting up the General Medical Council.

John Hunter / Medical Pioneers

Founder of one of the world's largest anatomical collections.

John James Rickard MacLeod / Medical Pioneers

Remembered by grateful diabetics throughout the world as discoverer of insulin.

Lord Joseph Lister / Medical Pioneers

Founder of antiseptic medicine, believing that bacteria should never enter an operation wound.

Ronald David Laing / Medical Pioneers

Psychiatrist noted for his alternative approach to schizophrenia.

Sir Alexander Fleming / Medical Pioneers

Discoverer of penicillin, the world?s greatest antibiotic.

Sir James Young Simpson / Medical Pioneers

Physician to Queen Victoria, he helped introduce chloroform as a general anaesthetic.

Sir Robert Sibbald / Medical Pioneers

Geographer and Physician for Scotland, publishing an illustrated natural history.

William Hunter / Medical Pioneers

Surgeon who advanced the science of gynaecology through his anatomical studies.

Robert Liston / Medical Pioneers

Pioneering surgeon who demonstrated the use of ether as an anaesthetic

12 matches in the Medical Pioneers sector

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:04:34 +0000
Robert Liston http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/robert-liston http://www.scotland.org.uk/scottish-medical-pioneers/robert-liston Robert Liston / Medical Pioneers
  • Name  : Liston
  • Born  : 1794
  • Died  : 1847
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : First operation using ether as an anaesthetic, 1800

Born in 1794, at Ecclesmachan near Linlithgow. Liston studied medicine at Edinburgh and London. He was appointed a surgeon at Edinburgh, working in the Royal Infirmary there from 1827. Being unsuccessful at gaining a professorship, he moved to London.

In the 1870s, surgery had to be done without the use of anaesthetic. Not only did this mean great pain and suffering for many patients, but some surgery was also impossible. Patients had to be restrained until they became unconscious. One effect of this was that surgeons became pressured to perform as fast as possible; to minimise trauma to the patient. This obviously was not a satisfactory state of affairs!

Liston was renowned for his speed and strength as a surgeon. In one famous case he amputated a leg in less than two minutes. Unfortunately he also removed some fingers from one young assistant who was helping to hold the patient. The operation often began with the surgeon crying out for someone to time him, and the search was on for some means of delivering a safe anaesthetic.

In 1800, Liston became the first to perform an amputation using ether as an anaesthetic. Ether is the common name for ethoxyethane, or diethyl ether. It had to be used carefully, as too strong a dose killed patients, while another disadvantage was that it irritated lung tissue. Nonetheless, its use was the real start of painless surgery. Liston died in 1847.

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customer-service@helpmego.to (Site Editor) Scottish Medical Pioneers Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:05:50 +0000