When I met Brian he had just finished a stint as a quiet surrogate patient for 4th year medical student exams at the Western. Tomorrow his script was to be a nervous patient, which he was quite looking forward to. He confided that he found it much more difficult to act as a belligerent patient, which I can well imagine – Brian doesn’t come across as the belligerent type. We made our way to Anne Ferguson Building cafe for a cup of coffee and to talk some more.
Brian had started at the Western in 1966 when the tennis court and football pitch were still regularly used. Both are still in use now. The football pitch is the double story visitors’ car park by the Royal Victoria Building and the tennis court a consultants’ car park squashed in between Amanda’s Garden and Turner House. Brian had a long and varied career in anaesthetics. Initially he was one of only three anaesthetist consultants at the Western now there are more than thirty.
Our conversation soon turned to the amazing advances made both in medical knowledge as well as the technology that supports it, and of course the people who make this happen. One example that Brian mentioned was the work of the Recovery Room nurses who in addition to caring for post-operative patients and those requiring intensive care would also assist in new developments such as hyperthermic therapy which involved heating patients to a high temperature for several hours. I often think a hospital is like an organism continuously evolving and adapting as new advances are made, of course the organism can only function through the lifeblood of the different skills that the NHS staff and volunteers bring to it.
Apart from his long career in medicine Brian has a long standing love for rugby. This diminutive man was a hooker when playing, so right in the thick of it when in a scrum. A playing career made way for a long refereeing career where one of the highlights was being one of the line out judges at Twickenham at an international. His medical knowledge was also called upon by Scottish Rugby as Brian spent a number of years on the medical staff a Scotland games.