James Mills Adam

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 21 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1166
  1. Ned Stafford, freelance journalist, Hamburg
  1. ns{at}

Military medicine researcher, adventurer, and general practitioner

After James (“Jim”) Adam was accepted to study medicine at Glasgow University, a family friend, a surgeon, advised him to join the officer’s training corps. Not only would he receive “cheap mutton pie,” but, after serving five years in the army, he would receive a £5000 grant to establish his medical practice.

After earning his degrees in medicine, surgery, and science in 1945, Adam duly enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps. But he would never need the grant to set up his private practice. Rising to the rank of colonel and specialising in physiology, he served in the army for 31 years in a variety of capacities, but focusing on research in military medicine.

His most important research projects entailed travelling around the world, investigating the effect of climate extremes on soldiers, but he also studied soldier nutrition, hot and cold injury, and battlefield resuscitation. One of his many journeys was as a participant in the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, during which he stood on the …

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