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Biographical entry Muir, Ian Fraser (1921 - 2008)

MBE 1946; MRCS LRCP 1943; MB BS Lond 1943; FRCS 1948; MS 1960; FRCS Edin 1973.

26 August 1921
West Hartlepool
6 December 2008
Plastic surgeon


Ian Fraser Muir was a consultant plastic surgeon for the Grampian Health Board and a senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. He was born on 26 August 1921 in West Hartlepool, the son of John Kerr Muir and Margaret McKenzie Muir née Duke. He came from a medical family: his father was a general practitioner and radiologist, his grandfather qualified from Glasgow Medical School and several uncles became doctors. His brother, Douglas McKenzie Kerr Muir, became a radiologist in British Columbia, Canada. Ian Muir was educated at Rosebank High School, West Hartlepool, Epsom College and then Middlesex Hospital Medical School, where he won several prizes. He qualified in 1943 with the Lyell gold medal in surgery.

He was a house surgeon at Middlesex Hospital and then joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a surgeon lieutenant, as a medical officer on HMS Artifex. He served mostly in the Far East.

He was demobilised in 1947, held house posts at Dollis Hill Hospital, and then returned to Middlesex Hospital to start his training in surgery. He was a house surgeon and registrar there and then, from 1949 to 1951, a registrar at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. He then returned to London, as a senior registrar in plastic surgery at Hill End Hospital and Mount Vernon Hospital under Rainsford Mowlem, who proved to be an influential mentor.

In 1955 he was appointed as a consultant at West Middlesex Hospital and Mount Vernon Centre for Plastic Surgery. During this time, working with Thomas Laird Barclay, he developed the widely-used 'Muir and Barclay formula' for burns resuscitation, which estimates the amount of fluid that needs to be infused during the first 36 hours after a major burn. With Barclay he wrote Burns and their treatment (London, Lloyd-Luke Medical Books, 1962), which was for many years the standard textbook on the subject.

In 1969 he moved to Aberdeen, where he set up the plastic surgery unit. For almost 10 years he was single handed and on-call 24 hours a day. In 1986, after his retirement from full-time clinical practice, he continued to work for 10 years as an honorary research fellow in the department of surgery at Aberdeen University. During this time he supervised a number of MSc and PhD students and was co-author of publications on aspects of wound healing and scar formation, as well as Plastic surgery in paediatrics (London, Lloyd-Luke, 1987).

At the Royal College of Surgeons he was Hunterian Professor in 1983 and in 1992 gave the McIndoe lecture on wound healing and scars. He was president of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons in 1982, and in 1993 president of the Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society.

He married Marion Pinks, a nurse, in 1947 and they had two children, Jennifer and Colin. Marion died in 1965. Ian Muir spent the last four years of his life living with his son in Leicester. He died in Leicester General Hospital on 6 December 2008, a few days after suffering a stroke, aged 87.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, Vol. 62 (2) pp.157-8, February 2009; Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) Officers 1939-1945 - accessed 20 August 2014].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England