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Biographical entry McMillan, Ian Kenneth Ramsay (1922 - 1989)

MRCS 1946; FRCS 1956; MB BCh Cambridge 1948; LRCP 1946.

14 June 1922
21 September 1989
Cardiac surgeon and Thoracic surgeon


Ian McMillan was born on 14 June 1922 in Birmingham, the second son of Kenneth Holl MacMillan, (lives 1974-82) consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, and Elizabeth (née Smyth). His uncle was a chest physician, his wife a physiotherapist and her parents general practitioners. He was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford, St Paul's, London (scholar), Jesus College, Cambridge (exhibitioner) and St Thomas's Hospital (exhibitioner). After qualifying in 1946 he served as Major, RAMC as a specialist physiologist in Germany and the UK (1947-1950). On return he was the Mackenzie-Mackinnon Research Fellow, RCS (1951-1954) working on the development of cardiac surgery and by-pass, later serving as RCS representative on the RCS, RCP joint committee in cardiology in 1967. He was visiting scientist National Heart Institute, Bethesda (1954-1955).

He passed the FRCS in 1956 and was senior lecturer surgical unit at St Thomas's Hospital before becoming consultant thoracic surgeon to the Wessex cardiac and thoracic unit, Southampton, in 1959. He was also honorary lecturer in cardiac surgery, Royal Postgraduate Medical School. After the death of Paul Chin he became head of the Wessex unit.

His contribution to the science and literature of cardiac and thoracic surgery was considerable, including the design of his pulse duplicator, the study of heart value function by high speed cine-photography and the first paper from the United Kingdom on electrical defibrillation of the heart in 1952.

He was held in high regard as a hard-working, skilful and meticulous surgeon, an affable 'big' man. He retired in 1987. In 1950 lie married Diana Sandiland and they had one son and two daughters, Andrew and Fiona becoming doctors and Cynthia, a dentist. He enoyed cricket and rugby in his youth and later, fishing and tennis. He obtained great pleasure from classical music and loved to travel. He was a founder-member of Pete's Club, an international surgical club, and established a visiting fellowship for surgeons in training at the Massachusetts General Hospital to come to the Southampton Unit. He died on 21 September 1989.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1989, 299, 1215; Independent 13 October 1989; Times 23 September 1989].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England