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Biographical entry Scott, James Christopher (1908 - 1978)

MRCS and FRCS 1937; MD Toronto 1932; MS 1939; MA Oxford 1946.

16 August 1908
Toronto, Canada
23 June 1978
Orthopaedic surgeon


James Christopher Scott was born on 16 August 1908 in Toronto, Canada, the son of James Scott, a merchant, and Olive (née Webb). He was educated at the University of Toronto School and then at the University of Toronto and Toronto General Hospital. On graduating in 1932 he was an intern at his teaching hospital, working there with W G Gallie and D W G Murray. In 1934 he came to the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, then known as the Wingfield Hospital, and trained with G R Girdlestone. He was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the Wingfield Hospital just before the second world war. He joined the RAF medical service in 1942, serving with distinction as a senior orthopaedic specialist, and was demobilised with the rank of Group Captain in 1946.

On his return to Oxford he took a great interest in the orthopaedic organisation and initiated the accident service at the Radcliffe Infirmary which achieved international distinction under his guidance. He was known as a good committee man and was prominent in the affairs of the British Orthopaedic Association, being appointed Vice-President on the occasion of the combined meeting of the BOA and the Canadian Orthopaedic Association at Vancouver. He also served as President of the Orthopaedic Section of the Royal Society of Medicine; President of the Oxford division of the BMA; chairman of the students' service of the BOA; chairman of the medical staff committee at Radcliffe Infirmary, and was a member of the board of governors of the United Oxford Hospitals.

He was much interested in the study of scoliosis and contributed a number of papers on this and other orthopaedic subjects, especially traumatology and the organisation of accident services. He was a gifted diagnostician and highly conscientious in the care of his patients, and was Vice-President of the League of Friends. His interest in nursing training was evinced by his Vice-Presidency of the Wingfield League of Nurses, and work on the joint examination board.

Jim Scott had played basketball and rugby for the University of Toronto and he was keen on squash and tennis. He was a strong advocate of sporting and social facilities at working places and was President of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Sports and Social Club for many years.

The accident service which he planned and directed was based upon a close geographical, historical and friendly association with the neurosurgical and other departments. He was sensitive to anything which seemed to threaten the smooth working of that service, but his direction of his trainees was essentially benign and liberal so that many of them throughout the world acknowledge their debt to him. He married Phyllis Margaret Empson in 1939 and when he died on 23 June 1978 he was survived by her and his four sons, one of whom is an orthopaedic surgeon.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1978, 2, 360].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England