Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry McLaggan, Sir John Douglas (1893 - 1967)

CBO 1950; KCVO 1958; MRCS and FRCS 1926; MB ChB Aberdeen 1920; FRCS Ed 1924.

18 June 1893
1 January 1967
ENT surgeon


John Douglas McLaggan was born on Deeside on 18 June 1893, and went to Aberdeen University for his medical studies which were interrupted by the first world war in which he served as a sergeant in the Gordon Highlanders. On demobilization he returned to Aberdeen and was awarded the physiology medal in 1918 and graduated MB ChB in 1920. After holding house posts at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary he came to London and immediately began to specialize in ear, nose and throat surgery, joining the staff of the Central London Throat and Ear Hospital (later the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital).

In 1924 he obtained the FRCS of Edinburgh and in 1926 the English Fellowship, and the same year was appointed to the consultant staff of the Royal National Hospital. There he distinguished himself as a teacher and was Dean of its medical school from 1931-35. In 1931 he was appointed to the staff of the Royal Free Hospital, and therefore a teacher in the University of London, and his notable services as Chairman of their Medical Committee before, during, and after the difficult period of the introduction of the National Health Service were deeply appreciated not only by his colleagues at the Royal Free but also by the staffs of their affiliated hospitals, the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and the Hampstead General.

Enough has been said to indicate the high regard in which he was held by his professional colleagues and friends and it was therefore natural that he should be called upon to attend members of the Royal Family. He was aurist to Queen Mary, to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II and was one of the consultants when Prince Charles had his tonsils and adenoids removed. For these services he was appointed CVO in 1950, and KCVO in 1958.

Sir Douglas retired from his hospital duties in 1958 and enjoyed the quieter life and the pleasures of bird-watching at his home in Surrey. In 1928 he married Dr Elsa Adams, and when he died at the age of 73 on 1 January 1967 she and their two sons survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1967, 1, 57, 117; Lancet 1967, 1, 118].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England