Constance A C Ross

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 27 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2303
  1. Constance A C Ross

While still a medical student Constance A C Ross obtained a wartime assistant post at Knightswood Fever Hospital Glasgow, which prompted her interest in infections and influenced her whole subsequent career. After qualifying she returned to Knightswood as an assistant physician. She trained in investigative methods and obtained her MD with a study of sulfonamide treatment in lobar pneumonia. She was called up during the second world war, serving in the army from 1945 to 1947. Posted to Catterick Military Hospital she was the first female physician in this male fortress, tending many patients invalided at home at that time from Burma.

After discharge from the army, she returned to Knightswood Hospital and became a research fellow in infantile gastroenteritis, from 1947 to 1952. The resulting publications in the BMJ and the Lancet supported the importance of breast feeding for infants. From 1952 to 1955 she was a research fellow in diseases of malabsorption at Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital, involved in fundamental studies of coeliac disease and cystic fibrosis. In 1955 she returned to working with infections as a senior registrar in bacteriology at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, with duties at the new Vale of Leven Hospital, Dunbartonshire. Hankering after more investigative work, however, she took a senior registrar post in the developing subject of virology, at the regional virus laboratory, Ruchill Hospital, Glasgow, in 1958 and worked there as a consultant virologist from 1965 to 1974. She was involved in developing viral diagnostic facilities and was coauthor of Diagnostic Methods in Clinical Virology (edited by NR Grist, CA Ross, and EJ Bell, Blackwell Scientific Publications 1966, 2nd ed 1974), and in clinical, epidemiological and laboratory investigations of various viral infections, resulting in several publications to scientific journals. In 1974 she decided to spend the remainder of her career in a wider and less specialised field and was consultant microbiologist for Ayrshire and Arran until her retirement in 1982. In this post she was able to analyse microbiological findings for a whole health board area. This not only yielded valuable epidemiological information but formed a rational basis for antibiotic policies. During this time she also took up painting as a hobby, which continued to be a much loved interest after her retirement, when she also became a volunteer gallery guide at Kelvington Grove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2303


  • Consultant microbiologist with special interest in virology, Glasgow and Ayrshire (b 1919; q Glasgow 1942; MD; FRCPath), d 26 December 2011.