Jute, Jam and Journalism

Medical Technology

Part of Jute, Jam, Journalism and Beyond

Dundee has a renowned reputation for research and development in medical innovation. With Ninewells Hospital being the largest teaching hospital in Europe it is easy to see how this has happened. How many scientists and laboratory technicians do you think are working at the university in partnership with the hospital, developing equipment and discovering new treatments?

Since the 19th century, doctors, nurses, surgeons, and many other people have been working to make Dundee – and the world – healthier! Just a few historical names are:

  • Mary Lily Walker (1888) – Though she had a promising science career ahead of her, she decided to quit and become a social worker. She formed the Dundee Social Union which cared for postnatal mothers and infants/children. She was passionate about increase the quality of health in young children.
  • Rebecca Strong (late 19th century) – She was a nurse who began in Dundee. She moved to Glasgow and began a more modern system for educating nurses in Scotland.
  • Allardyce Healthcare (1901) – This company began in Dundee in the early 20th century designing surgical and orthopaedic equipment. They still operate today and supply equipment all over Scotland and northern England.
  • Margaret Fairlie (1940) – She was a gynaecologist in a time when female doctors were rare. She developed smear tests to check for cancer, and she was the first female professor in Scotland.
  • Sir James Mackenzie (1951) – He invented the polygraph to diagnose heart conditions. In 1951, he led the Dundee surgical unit to become a leader of cardiovascular (heart) surgery.
  • James Walker (1952-1966)– He established the first comprehensive birth records in Tayside which are still used for research about adult diseases today.
  • James Riley (1952) – His research led to a better understanding of allergies and allergic reactions.
  • Ross Mitchell (1961) – He was the first neonatal physician in the UK, taking care of babies born with illnesses and other problems.
  • Sir Alfred Cuschieri (the 1980s) – He pioneered keyhole surgery in the UK and still works at Ninewells teaching surgeons how to perform minimally invasive surgery (surgery that doesn’t leave a lot of damage behind).
  • Dr. Anil Mehta (2003)– He established a European cystic fibrosis registry.

As you can see, many really great new medical developments have happened in Dundee, and there are so many research projects going on today! Will you be the next great surgeon at Ninewells? Try your hand at the activity below to start practising!

Tayside Medical History Museum
Tayside Medical History Museum
Watch a demonstration of keyhole surgery here from our show “Medical Myths and Mysteries”!
Sir Alfred Cuschieri celebrating the opening of our Medical Marvels exhibit in 2018
Sir Alfred Cuschieri celebrating the opening of our Medical Marvels exhibit in 2018
Keyhole Surgery Skills
Keyhole Surgery Skills (PDF)

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