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ObituariesSir Ian William James McAdamJohn Randall ArchibaldJoan (“Judy”) Britton (née Kelly)Margaret Yvonne (“Peggy”) CurrieDonald Andrew EwingWilliam Ian Leslie FraserIan Goodhall MeiklejohnMaurice James Dewar NobleGeorge Ronald Crompton PeatfieldRobert PollockRuth Margaret Taylor (née Howitt)

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 01 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1216

Sir Ian William James McAdam

  1. David Carter

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    Former professor of surgery Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda (b 1917; q Edinburgh 1940; FRCSE, FRCS; OBE), d 4 March 1999. His appointment enabled him to play a leading part in the growing international reputation of the medical school, then the only one in east Africa. The first generation of east African surgeons were trained in his department, and the quality of their training was such that the MMed in surgery was recognised by the surgical royal colleges in Britain. Although he laid no claim to be a basic scientist, he made major contributions to clinical research. He was a prime mover in establishing the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service, and was instrumental in establishing the Polio Treatment Centre and the Cancer Institute. A founder member of the East African Association of Surgeons, he later became its president.

    There can be few surgeons who have had to deal with a major head wound sustained by their country's president (Obote) after a failed coup and operate in a theatre full of excited soldiers with automatic weapons. McAdam's contribution to the development of a multiracial society and his leadership qualities made it inevitable that he would come into contact with the brutal regime imposed by Obote's successor, Idi Amin. In 1972 he and two professorial colleagues were expelled, and he devoted his considerable energies in exile to the plight of colleagues, many of them of Asian descent, who had been forced to leave. After a year at the National Cancer Institute in Washington he returned to Africa, to Plettenburg Bay in South Africa where he undertook all the surgery in Knysna Hospital until he was 72.

    An outstanding sportsman, McAdam gained a blue for tennis at Edinburgh and represented Uganda at many sports, winning national titles at golf, tennis, and motor rallying. His other …

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