Record

Ref NoDEP/LAL
TitleCollection of William Lindsay Lamb
DescriptionLamb was born in India where his father was in the Indian Medical Service. He qualified in medicine with honours at Edinburgh University in 1926 and entered general practice in Aberdeen. He became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1932. He was became Assistant Physician to the Royal Infirmary in 1936 and began his long association with Sir Derrick Dunlop in Wards 23/24.

During the War Lindsay served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He had a hair-raising escape at the evacuation of Crete. The Royal Navy landed him at Alexandria with nothing but the dishevelled battledress in which he stood, and he was refused admission to the Officers' CIub for being improperly dressed. He was returned to the UK by a devious route and after Normandy he came back to Edinburgh and the Royal Infirmary where he impressed the students by teaching at the bedside in battledress with the rank of Lt. Colonel.

After the War he had charge of beds in Chalmers Hospital from 1950-61 (in addition to his part-time commitment to the Royal) while also paying a weekly visit to the Princess Margaret Rose Orthopaedic Hospital. He was the Chief Medical Officer of the Scottish Provident Institution, Medical Officer at Fettes and a Governor of the school for many years. He was in demand in private practice but in later years he passed work on to others because of his hospital duties. From 1962 to his retirement in 1969 he was Physician-in- charge of Wards 32/33. All who worked under him, nurses, secretaries, ward maids, consultants, registrars, house officers, and especially patients, appreciated his genuine interest in their welfare. He had the 'holistic' approach long before it became fashionable to use the term. He complained that he could not keep pace with modern medicine, but he was never too proud to seek the help of a younger doctor with specialised knowledge. He was a great supporter of the young and exercised a steadying influence on youthful enthusiasm, stressing that modern investigations and treatments were not always in the best interests of the individual patient.

He was an effective writer of letters. In 1958 The Scotsman published correspondence in which he drew attention to the problems in the Royal Infirmary of overcrowding, shortage of nurses, long stay elderly patients and underfunding. Thereafter he persuaded his MP to raise the matter in the House of Commons. A further analysis of the shortcomings of the NHS [National Health Service] was published in The Scotsman in 1975, six years after his retirement, when he accused the Government again of underfunding and mismanagement. His forthright honesty led him unerringly towards the truth whether it was bedside diagnosis, undergraduate teaching, advice to colleagues, or on the Board of Management of the Royal and other committees where his thoughtful criticism was most feared. He is remembered as a fine physician of innate goodness and fearless integrity, with an aura of warmth about him which endeared him to his friends and colleagues.
[Source: obituary, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh]

Contents: Correspondence, 1929-1996; papers relating to Derrick Dunlop, 1936-1988; war scrapbook, 1927-1996; article by Lindsay Lamb, 1945-1992; ephemera, 1933-1989; financial papers, 1949-1989; publications collected by Lindsay Lamb, 1923-1997
Date1923-1997
Extent57 items; 1 volume
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