Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Jackson, Douglas MacGilchrist (1916 - 2002)

MB BChir Cambridge 1940; MRCS LRCP 1940; FRCS 1943; MD 1951.

17 February 1916
Shanghai, China
26 September 2002
Burns surgeon and General surgeon


Douglas MacGilchrist Jackson was a consultant surgeon at Birmingham Accident Hospital and founder of the hospital's burns unit. He was born in Shanghai, China on 17 February 1916, the son of Ernest David Jackson, a medical practitioner and graduate of the University of Glasgow, and Mary Montgomerie Curry Jackson née MacGilchrist, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. His older brother was Ian MacGilchrist Jackson, who became an obstetrician and gynaecologist in London.

Jackson started his education at the Cathedral School, Shanghai and was then, at the age of seven, sent to England, where he attended Newlands Preparatory School in Seaford, Sussex. He went on to Marlborough College and then Clare College, Cambridge, where he was an exhibitioner, and Guy's Hospital Medical School. He qualified in 1940.

He held junior posts at Guy's. He was particularly influenced by William Heneage Ogilvie, Russel Brock and Hedley Atkins. He went on to become a surgical specialist with the rank of major in the RAMC. He gained his FRCS in 1943.

Prior to his appointment in Birmingham, he was a surgical registrar at Guy's and then a fellow in surgery at Harvard. At Birmingham, he introduced a team approach to the management of burns, emphasised the importance of early treatment of burns and introduced the 'pin-prick test' for assessing burn depth.

Although he published several important papers, he left it to his colleague, Jack Cason, to write up their life's work as Treatment of burns (London, Chapman and Hall, 1981). His research was also written up by the pathologist Simon Sevitt and the microbiologist Edward Lowbury.

In 1953, Jackson gave the Hunterian lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons on the treatment of burns, and in 1969 the Everett Idris Evans memorial lecture. He was a member of the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board. In 1980, he held a Commonwealth Foundation lectureship in India and Sri Lanka. He was an honorary member of the International Society for Burn Injuries.

Jackson was chairman and president of the Christian Medical Fellowship, and a prominent and popular speaker and writer in the early years of the organisation. He was also interested in travel, photography and geology.

In 1941, he married Mabel Brand. They had two sons, one of whom predeceased him. The other followed him into medicine. Douglas Jackson died on 26 September 2002. He was 86.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [Burns 30 (2004) 206 - accessed 22 March 2018; Christian Medical Fellowship From CMF news - autumn 2002 - Members' news - accessed 22 March 2018; Birmingham Mail 2 August 2015 - accessed 22 March 2018].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England