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Biographical entry Macnab, George Henderson (1904 - 1967)

MRCS and FRCS 1934; MB ChB Edinburgh 1926; LRCP 1934.

12 March 1904
1 March 1967
Paediatric surgeon


George Macnab was born in Edinburgh on 12 March 1904, and went to school at Edinburgh Academy. He then proceeded to his medical studies at Edinburgh Unviersity and graduated in 1926. After house appointments in West Hartlepool and at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, he came to London and worked at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, the Maida Vale Hospital for Nervous Diseases, and at Great Ormond Street.

He took the FRCS in 1934 and was appointed senior surgical registrar at Westminster Hospital in 1935, and surgeon to that hospital in 1937. At the outbreak of war he was involved in the EMS Head Injuries Service, and was also given administrative charge of the Emergency Medical Service at Westminster Hospital. In 1942 the Deanship of the Medical School was added to his other duties, and by the time he relinquished that office in 1950 he had done much to set the school once more upon its feet after the disruptive effects of the war.

In 1946 Macnab was elected consultant surgeon at Great Ormond Street, and thus commenced a memorable period of service to paediatric surgery with special reference to the treatment of hydrocephalus. He also served for seven years as chairman of the academic board in the Institute of Child Health attached to Great Ormond Street.

The University of Edinburgh honoured him as Honeyman Gillespie Lecturer in 1944 and again in 1955; and in the Royal College of Surgeons he was on the Court of Examiners, and Hunterian Professor in 1962. However, he still maintained an active interest in the affairs of the Westminster Hospital, and in 1965 became the chairman of the medical committee which involved him in the organization of the celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the hospital.

Macnab was a friendly person, and in addition to enjoying the social life of the Athenaeum and Garrick Clubs in London, and of the New Club in Edinburgh, he was a keen fisherman and golfer. But his most abiding love was for music, which was shared with his wife, a daughter of the Hon St Leger Jervis, DSO, whom he married in 1946. She was a gifted pianist, and as he had a fine baritone voice they combined to give much pleasure to their friends. When he died on 1 March 1967 his wife survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1967, 1, 639; Lancet 1967, 1, 580; Ann Roy Coll Surg Eng 1967, 40, 389].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England