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Biographical entry Hamilton, Arthur James Cochrane (1897 - 1968)

OBE 1962; MRCS and FRCS 1926; MB Ch Edinburgh 1920; FRCS Ed 1924.

21 July 1897
2 February 1968
General surgeon


Arthur Hamilton was born in Edinburgh on 21 July 1897, he went to school at George Watson's College, and then to the University of Edinburgh where he graduated in medicine with honours in 1920, winning the Annandale Gold Medal in clinical surgery. His subsequent appointments laid an excellent foundation for a career in general surgery, for, after the usual junior posts he became a senior demonstrator in anatomy, assistant pathologist, a senior surgical clinical assistant at the Hospital for Sick Children, and surgical clinical tutor, and clinical assistant in diagnostic radiology at the Royal Infirmary. This varied experience, coupled with a natural aptitude for teaching, earned "Hammy" a great reputation among the medical students and postgraduates. In 1924 he obtained the Edinburgh Fellowship, and two years later the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

In 1927 he went to Inverness as consultant surgeon to the Northern Infirmary, and entered with enthusiasm into the extension and reorganization not only of the Infirmary, later re-named the Royal Northern Infirmary, but also of the other hospital services in the Northern region, of which Inverness was the administrative centre. He was also on the staff of the Belford Hospital, Fort William, and his extensive private practice took him as far afield as Wick, Thurso, and the Island of Skye. In all he undertook in clinical, operative, training and administrative work he inspired his associates to achieve the highest standards, and his house-surgeons and nurses especially appreciated his leadership and example. As time went by various specialist units were established at the Infirmary under Hamilton's direction, and this development was particularly valuable when, during the second world war, an EMS hospital was opened at Raigmore, on the south side of Inverness, in 1941. As was inevitable, he was in demand for hospital committees, for service on the Northern Regional Board, and in the British Medical Association as President of the Northern Counties of Scotland Branch in 1954-5, and Chairman of the Inverness Division in 1963-4. Yet he maintained contact with the Edinburgh College both as an Examiner for the Fellowship, and as a Member of the Council on which he served for two periods, and was Vice-President from 1962-67.

In recognition of his distinguished services he was appointed OBE in the 1962 New Year Honours, and in July of that year he retired from the Infirmary, being at that time the senior consultant surgeon to the Northern Regional Hospital Board.

He died on 2 February 1968, aged 70, and was survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. He left behind him a memorable record of professional service, a large number of good doctors who had profited from his tuition, innumerable grateful patients, and a host of friends.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1968, 1, 452].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England