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Biographical entry Truscott, Brian McNeill (1912 - 1971)

MBE 1945; MRCS 1935; FRCS 1939; MB BS London 1935; MA Cambridge 1950; LRCP 1935.

29 February 1912
15 August 1971
General surgeon


Brian McNeill Truscott was born in Hampstead on 29 February 1912, the son of Samuel John Truscott, Professor of Mining Engineering at the Royal School of Mines and Mary Truscott (née Vaughan). He was educated at Oundle School and the Middlesex Hospital where he held resident appointments after qualification in 1935. His surgical training under Gordon-Taylor and Vaughan Hudson was reflected in his skill in abdominal surgery and thyroidectomy.

On the outbreak of war in 1939 he joined the RAMC and saw active service in North Africa, the landings at Salerno and Anzio, and in Northern Europe. He attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in charge of a Field Surgical Unit, and was appointed MBE in recognition of his war service.

In 1946 he was appointed an honorary surgeon to Addenbrooke's Hospital, and at the inception of the NHS became a consultant surgeon to the United Cambridge Hospitals and to Huntingdon County Hospital. A general surgeon with the widest interests, he latterly devoted much of his time to the treatment of breast cancer and thyroid disease. He was concerned with the evaluation of simple and radical mastectomy and the place of radiotherapy in the treatment of mammary carcinoma. The trials which he initiated received international recognition and co-operation and at the time of his death this study was well advanced.

In the University of Cambridge he held the post of lecturer in surgery. He was examiner in surgery for Cambridge and London Universities. As a member of the Royal College of Surgeons' Committee on Surgical Training he played a very active and strenuous part in setting up programmes in East Anglia for the training of surgeons.

His full surgical life was conducted in spite of a serious cranial operation in 1951. The sequelae of this operation became an increasingly severe handicap overcome by his enthusiasm for his work and teaching. He died as a result of this illness on 15 August 1971. In 1939 he married Joan Goodall, who survived him with a son and daughter.

Large solitary cysts of the parathyroid gland. Brit J Surg 1956, 44, 23.
Contributor to Rob and Smith, Operative surgery, volume 4. London, 1957.
Familial hyperparathyroidism. Postgrad med J 1966, 42, 228.
Unexpected adenomata of the parathyroid. Brit J Surg 1967, 54, 21.
Initial treatment of breast cancer; the controlled trial in East Anglia. Proc Roy Soc Med 1967, 60, 943.
Royal College of Surgeons' Breast cancer symposium. (contributor) Brit J Surg 1969, 56, 789.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 11 September 1971; Brit med J 1971, 3, 538; Lancet 1971, 2, 499].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England