Obituary: James Henry Sheilswood Scott, orthopaedic surgeon, 89

James Henry Sheilswood Scott, a respected orthopaedic surgeon who worked at the Western General in Edinburgh, has died aged 89.

Mr Scott, known as Jimmy, was born in 1921 in India where his father was a medical officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps. At the age of four he was sent back to Scotland to be educated, which involved long periods of separation from his parents.

He attended Glasgow Academy and finished his schooling at Trinity College Glenalmond where he excelled at sport, being a member of the rugby team which won the Scottish schools championship in 1938.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He studied medicine at Edinburgh University from 1939 to 1944 where he became captain of the rugby team and president of the athletic club.

After qualifying he did his army service at the end of the Second World War attached to a commando brigade in India and Hong Kong.

On release from the army Mr Scott began his surgical training with Sir Walter Mercer in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Wattie, as he was known, was a remarkable surgeon, uniquely skilled in all fields including operations on the chest, abdomen and the limbs. He was appointed the first professor of orthopaedic surgery in Edinburgh during Mr Scott's attachment to his unit and inspired him to specialise in this field.

Mr Scott continued his training in Oxford and returned to Edinburgh as a consultant in 1960, working at the Western General and Princes Margaret Rose hospitals.

He developed an interest in back problems and devised an original operation for the management of a particular type of instability of the spine.

He also took over the surgical management of problems of inequality of limb length, a development which had been pioneered in Edinburgh in the 1930s. He was one of the first surgeons in Edinburgh to use the new joint replacements.

His patients appreciated his skilled care and concern for them as individuals, and hospital staff referred to him as a "real gentleman" and a "lovely man".

Sport played a prominent part in Mr Scott's life and he became a skilful squash player. Golf assumed increasing importance after his retirement in 1987 and he was a popular member of Muirfield and Bruntsfield golf courses.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In his 80s he achieved a hole-in-one which he was sadly unable to witness as his eyesight had begun to fail.

Unassuming and self-deprecating, Mr Scott will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Rhoda, his wife of 65 years, who had been a fellow medical student, gave him great support and cared for him at home during his final illness, with the help of their four children, two of whom have followed the family tradition of medicine, and his four grandchildren.