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Biographical entry Forrest, Hugh (1929 - 1996)

MRCS and FRCS 1962; MB ChB Glasgow 1955; FRCS Edinburgh 1961; FRCS Glasgow 1974.

12 June 1929
11 February 1996
General surgeon, Urological surgeon and Vascular surgeon


Hugh Forrest, whose father was a draughtsman and whose mother, Annie Tough Hay was a secretary, was born in Greenock on 12 June 1929. His initial education was at Greenock High School, where he won a poster prize for National Savings; he then went on to medical school in Glasgow, graduating in 1955 with distinction in surgery and having won the William Hunter Medal for practical anatomy. He had completed his two years' National Service in the Royal Air Force (1947-1949) before going up to university, serving in the medical branch of the RAF as a corporal. After a period of training in general surgery based at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, he became interested in peripheral vascular disease and went to Heidelberg, Germany, for specialist training in vascular surgery.

His consultant career started at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow in 1967, where he was appointed consultant general surgeon with an interest in urology, this appointment lasting until 1973. He then became a consultant general surgeon with a special interest in vascular surgery at the Western Infirmary and Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow, in 1973. In both centres he expanded the existing vascular service, building up busy vascular units which attracted referrals throughout the west of Scotland.

He served the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in many capacities and on many committees, and was a member of the College Council between 1985 and 1989. He was much concerned with surgical audit, an interest which he carried on into retirement as Chairman of the Scottish Audit of Surgical Mortality, whose first annual report was published in December 1995. He was an examiner for the Fellowship in the Primary and the Final in pathology and surgery, was President of the West of Scotland Surgical Association, and represented Scotland on the Council of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, of which he had been a Fellow since 1972.

Following retirement in 1991, in addition to his professional activities he developed a consuming interest in drawing and painting, taking classes and exhibiting his work. He also enjoyed golf, building remote control model boats from scratch, and trout fishing, becoming president of the local BMA Angling Club and winning the 1994 trophy at Loch Walton Angling Club. Another great interest was poetry, and the life and poems of Robert Burns.

In 1959 he was ordained as an Elder in the Church of Scotland. The depth of his faith was reflected in his life and work, and his wisdom, experience and ability to put people at ease, whatever the circumstances, were well recognised among his friends and colleagues and much appreciated by his patients.

In June 1963 he married Alison Hunter RGN, who survived him, together with their two sons Alan and Ewan, one a mathematician and the other a physician. He died of pancreatic adenocarcinoma on 11 February 1996.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1996 313 165, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England