David Ardrey Naismith

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 15 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1137
  1. David Naismith

    Graduating in 1935, David Ardrey Naismith completed his houseman posts in Glasgow. He did some locum work in Inverness and Kilsyth, finally settling in Grangemouth just prior to the start of the second world war. Anticipating transfer overseas, he married Mary Campbell on the ides of March 1940 and was seconded to the Indian army two weeks later. The next five years involved setting up field hospitals in Ceylon, Iraq, and Iran. He polished his anaesthetic skills, was instrumental in setting up his unit’s blood transfusion service, and learnt he could survive on 4 hours’ sleep. Even in these dire times, he managed to cultivate outside interests, learning to ride a motorbike and, through running the officers’ mess, how gourmet food could be created from the limited rations available.

    He was demobbed in 1945 and obtained his DA in London. Neither Falkirk nor Stirling hospitals had any anaesthetists on staff at that time as housemen fulfilled that responsibility. On returning to take up general practice with Dr Melville in Grangemouth, he was invited to give anaethetics for his ear, nose, and throat list at Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary. This grew into a permanent weekly list on Tuesdays and anaesthetic call for that day. Another medical interest arose partly through his enthusiasm in teaching first aid classes for the St Andrew’s Ambulance Association (for 46 years) and partly from the refineries’ need for a doctor to be able to respond to exposure to hydrogen fluoride. Occupational medicine would grow to make up a third of his practice. He retired from hospital practice in 1977 and from general practice in 1978.

    Outside of medicine, David was very active, joining the Grangemouth rotary club in its first year and being president in 1962. He attended many district conferences and particularly enjoyed planning the dinners and wine lists for the large contingent of the club that made these trips.

    He was elected to Grangemouth town council in the early ’50s, pursuing interests in a better water supply and local measures for cleaner air. As a member of the council he was presented to the Queen in 1955 and attended the House of Lords appeal (greater burgh status).

    Finally, age took many things from him, but not the obvious pleasure at seeing a familiar face, nor the ability to enjoy a good Scots breakfast.

    He was predeceased by Mary Campbell in 2006 and his son Ronald in 2007. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Duce; his children, Marie Vernet and Dr David Naismith; his grandchildren, Remy and Dr Magali Vernet and Robin, Angela, Faye, Ann-Marie, and David Naismith; and his great-grandchildren, Alexandre Vernet, and Gaetan, Chloe, and Cyprian Kaouadji, and Connor and Daren Naismith.


    • Former general practitioner Grangemouth (b 3 January 1912; q Glasgow 1935; DA), d 1 December 2007.

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