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Sir William Macewen

Mitchell Library, The Bailie

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Sir William Macewen

Sir William Macewen (1848-1924), pioneer surgeon.

Born on Bute, Macewen studied surgery under Joseph Lister at the University of Glasgow. In 1875 he began working as a surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He developed strict aseptic procedures in the operating theatre and introduced sterilisable white coats. Macewen pioneered operations on the brain for tumours, abscesses, and trauma. He was also very interested in bone growth and performed the first bone graft in 1879, allowing treatment for diseases such as rickets. He also performed the first pneumonectomy, the removal of a tuberculous lung.

In 1892 MacEwen was appointed to the Regius Chair of Surgery in the University of Glasgow. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1895 and was knighted in 1902. In 1922 he was President of the British Medical Association, the largest professional association in the Empire, delivering a memorable presidential address to the annual conference which was held in Glasgow.

Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 052 BAI

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

aseptic surgery, bone grafts, brain surgery, British Medical Association, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Western Infirmary, pneumonectomy, rickets, Royal Society, surgeons, tuberculosis, University of Glasgow

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