Intended for healthcare professionals


Alastair Hugh Bailey Masson

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 24 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1541
  1. Tony Wildsmith,
  2. Ewan Masson

    Alastair Hugh Bailey Masson’s career spanned anaesthesia’s development from a time when whole time practitioners were rare to the scientifically and technologically based, highly specialist practice of today. He was a leader in that development, particularly in helping to solve the problems of open heart surgery during the late 1950s and early 1960s, in promoting the highest standards of individual patient care, and in contributing to the education and training of his younger colleagues, for many of whom he was a valued source of advice and support. Primarily a clinician he nevertheless recognised the importance of research to the specialty’s development, actively encouraging and contributing to its performance. A major interest was the history of medicine, and this led to his appointment as honorary archivist to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, a position that he filled with great distinction.

    Alastair was educated at Bathgate Academy and studied Medicine in Edinburgh, so following in the footsteps of that great pioneer of anaesthesia, James “Young” Simpson. After qualifying in 1947, he applied to undertake his two years of national service in the Royal Air Force, and was soon posted to Habbaniya in Iraq, but with a brief transfer to the much smaller base of Mauripur in Pakistan. This was to prove a …

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