Victor Morrison Hawthorne

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 26 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h402
  1. Charles Gillis, Rosalind Kirk, Graham Watt

Victor Morrison Hawthorne attended school at Rutherglen Academy. His university entrance was delayed by the war, in which he served as a captain in the special services of the Royal Artillery in Burma. After graduating he worked as a general practitioner in Dunoon before joining the infectious disease unit at Ruchill Hospital in Glasgow. For his MD (with commendation) in 1963 he studied “tuberculosis in man, dog, and cat.” The most exotic aspect of his interest in TB transmission, however, was diagnosing the disease in a chest x-ray of Bobo the chimpanzee, star of Bertram Mills Circus when it visited Glasgow.

Victor coordinated the mass miniature radiography team that screened more than 700 000 Glaswegians for tuberculosis in a celebrated five week campaign in 1957. His crucial insight at the time was that the same approach could be applied to chest and heart disease. He wrote that although hospital specialists could study patients, they were not well placed to study diseases in the community. Initially, the mass miniature radiography …

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