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Biographical entry McDowall, Andrew (1901 - 1978)

TD 1950; MRCS and FRCS 1935; MB ChB Edinburgh 1923.

22 February 1901
30 June 1978
General practitioner, General surgeon and Plastic surgeon


Andrew McDowall was born at Bradford on 22 February 1901 of parents who had been born and brought up in Wigtownshire. He was educated first at Fort William School, where he developed a great interest in history. He went on to George Watson's College, Edinburgh, and then to Edinburgh University, where he graduated in medicine in 1923. He set up in general practice at Bradford and remained there for six years. He then decided to undertake specialist surgical training, and after hospital appointments in London took the FRCS in 1935. In 1938 he married Agnes Woodman and later that year took up a Foreign Office appointment as surgeon to the Iraq Government at Baghdad. He later became Professor of Surgery at the Royal Iraq College of Medicine, and in recognition of his service to the country the Order of Al Rafidian Class IV was conferred on him. McDowall was a Territorial officer before the second world war, and in 1943 he entered the RAMC from Baghdad with the rank of Major. He served in Italy; then as a Lieutenant-Colonel with the British Liberation Army, in charge of a field ambulance unit in Germany. Towards the end of the war he was in charge of a surgical division in Singapore.

In 1947 he returned to Britain and was appointed consultant plastic surgeon to the Manchester region at the outset of the NHS. The regional service was based at Wythenshawe Hospital, but he also set up a burns unit for the treatment of children at Booth Hall Hospital in north Manchester. He became an authority on the treatment of burns, particularly in children, and wrote on the subject. He was active in the campaign aimed at reducing the frequency of firework and night-dress burns in children. He had additional appointments at Wigan and Preston, where he created the plastic surgery unit, and where, after his retirement from Wythenshawe Hospital in 1966, he continued as a consultant plastic surgeon until his 70th year. He was a director of the East Lancashire Division of the British Red Cross Society and a representative on its national council.

He will be remembered as a delightful colleague dedicated to the care of his patients and to his speciality of plastic surgery. He died on 30 June 1978, survived by his wife, Dorothy Agnes, whom he had married in 1938, and his son, F AW McDowall, also an FRCS and senior registrar in plastic surgery at East Grinstead.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1978, 2, 575].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England