Ian Cameron Geddes

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 05 August 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3831
  1. J Edmund Riding,
  2. Ronald S Jones

    Ian Cameron Geddes was born at Edinburgh in 1922 and graduated from St Andrews in 1945, having been awarded a Full Blue for athletics. After service in the Royal Air Force he enrolled on the postgraduate course in anaesthesia at Liverpool University in 1949. After experience in Liverpool hospitals and as a research fellow in the Department of Anaesthesia, University of Liverpool, he spent two years at Montreal General Hospital and Research Institute. There he studied the properties and metabolism of local analgesic drugs. This work formed the basis for a thesis for which he was awarded an MD with commendation and the Rutherford silver medal. Returning to Liverpool, he was appointed to the Department of Anaesthesia as lecturer, later becoming senior lecturer and, in 1975, reader.

    His research interests were mainly laboratory based and related to anaesthetic drug metabolism .He was a genuine inventor and built from scratch a gas chromatograph to enable him to further his research. He spent a year’s sabbatical at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York working on the metabolism of halothane. He was one of the founder members of the Anaesthetic Research Group.

    Ian had a special concern for the interests of the students on the postgraduate course, for whose organisation he became responsible in October 1957. This was a task that he thoroughly enjoyed and was extremely good at. He was innovative in his teaching methods and in many ways was ahead of his time in using audiovisual aids for teaching and revision. Practice viva voce examination tests were recorded on television and played back to display the strengths and weaknesses of the performance of the student. He was emphatic about the need to train the next generation of trainers, long before the now universal training schemes were established. His lively, even rombustious , manner was allied to a kind and generous spirit, and his pastoral interest and practical care was especially valued by the overseas members of the course.

    His published work was mainly on aspects of local analgesic drugs and included several contributions to standard reference works. Somewhat disappointed not to be invited to succeed to the chair on the retirement of Professor T Cecil Gray, he left Liverpool to take up a professorial post in Amman Jordan. When he arrived he found that a changed situation resulted in the post being no longer available. Returning to France, he retreated to his cottage near Montelimar, where he had relatives and was able to put his fluent French to good use. A short time later, he was appointed senior lecturer in Professor J P Payne’s department at the London Hospital.

    Ian Geddes retired to Crail, Fife, and spent much time in France He was an accomplished golfer and a keen gardener and amateur photographer. He leaves two daughters and three grandchildren.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3831


    • Former reader department of anaesthesia, University of Liverpool (b 1922; q St Andrews 1945; MD (St A), FRCA), d 29 November 2009.

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