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Biographical entry Scott, James Steel (1924 - 2006)

FRCS 1986; MB ChB Glasgow 1946; MD 1959; FRCS Edinburgh 1959; FRCOG 1962.

18 April 1924
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
17 September 2006
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


James Scott was professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Leeds University. He was born in Glasgow on 18 April 1924, the elder son of Angus McAlpine Scott and Margaret Scott. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and then studied medicine at Glasgow University, gaining his obstetric experience at the Rotunda, Dublin. After qualifying he completed his National Service in West Africa.

Following his demobilisation he trained in obstetrics and gynaecology at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, London, and then in Birmingham, before moving to Liverpool in 1954 as an obstetric tutor. He became a lecturer and then senior lecturer, at a time when Sir Thomas Jeffcoate was head of the department. Here Scott carried out research into placental abnormalities.

He was appointed to the chair of obstetrics at Leeds in 1961, becoming dean of medicine in 1986. His main interest was fetoplacental function, and he was the first to recognise that transplacental passage of harmful maternal antibodies could lead to hyperthyroidism and shortage of platelets in the newborn. He had a particular interest in pre-eclampsia, which he discovered was more common and more serious in pregnancies where the mother had a new male partner, and carried out research into repeated miscarriage. He was much in demand as a visiting professor.

Always hyperactive, he detested golf, though he wrote a biography of Alister McKenzie, a designer of golf courses. He was a keen skier, was passionate about opera, the arts in general and his house in Scotland. He died from prostate cancer on 17 September 2006, and is survived by his wife Olive (née Sharpe), a consultant paediatric cardiologist, and two sons.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2006 333 921; The Daily Telegraph 19 October 2006].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England