Sport has featured prominently in Vaughan’s life. A keen tennis player from an early age he still keeps his hand in two or three times a week. But I found that Vaughan is no singly talented person. Not only did he play tennis at a high level when at university, once his studies were over and he started as a House Officer at the Western in 1960 he soon became a prominent member of the Western General Hospital cricket team, playing matches at Fettes School and the Western football team using the pitch which has now disappeared underneath the double storey car park. It doesn’t stop there Vaughan is also a fisherman of some note and I’m sure he’d be able to tell us a lot more about the ones he caught and also the ones that got away.
Vaughan told me that working at the Western had its advantages. The Western was place for innovation and outward looking in its approach. Most of the medical staff at the Royal Infirmary at that time were ‘home grown’; studying at Edinburgh University and then moving on to positions in the Royal. This meant that the Western had to recruit from all over the UK and though that attracted a broader experience and different ways of thinking. It was an exciting place to be. In 1973 Vaughan was appointed consultant and asked to start the Day Surgery Unit at the Western. A chance to innovate and test what worked through a series of clinical trials which examined the benefits of home stay, short term hospital based care or longer term hospital based care after surgery. Something that helped shape how we patients are supported today.
The Western was also a great social place Vaughan told me. The somewhat cramped nature of the clock tower building meant that you ran into each more often, sometimes literally, so you ended up getting to know an awful lot of people. As I am starting to discover there was an amazing sense of community at during the 60s and 70s at the Western with regular social and sporting events – great family occasions that created friendships for life.