Ronald McRae - Renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon Illustrator and Author
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Ronald K McRae was born in 1926, the son of a policeman, and grew up in Maybole attending Carrick Academy and gaining the Ramsay Medal. In 1944 he went to Glasgow University and qualified in Medicine in 1949. He signed up for a short service commission in the RAF and was posted to a hospital in Ely where he acquired extensive experience in treating a wide variety of orthopaedic problems affecting local and civilian personnel and cases transferred from the Middle East.

On leaving the RAF he worked in all the principal Glasgow Hospitals and was appointed consultant at the Southern General Hospital. He also became lecturer in anatomy at the Glasgow School of Chiropody and developed a range of ground breaking teaching methods which were rewarded by his being made an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Chiropodists.

While at the Southern General, the hospital was the first in Scotland to acquire the equipment which enabled them to carry out pioneering hip replacement surgery which is now in universal use. He was also heavily involved in treating accidents from the Govan shipyards, the building of the Clyde Tunnel and the Ibrox football disaster.

Ron was also put in charge of establishing a teaching programme for undergraduates. This involved issuing handout notes every term, a tedious task as they had to be done on a Roneo machine together with stencilled hand drawn illustrations which were frequently lost. He approached Churchill Livingstone, the publishers, to see if they would print these and this was agreed provided the version was expanded. This meant altering the text and producing 600 hand drawn illustrations. The result was the emergence of a textbook called “Clinical Orthopaedic Examination” which has been in continuous print, now in its 5th edition It has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Farsi and is in use world wide. This success was followed by a further publications, namely “Practical Fracture Treatment”, again widely translated. The most recent edition has been co-authored with Mr Max Esser in Australia. The book is heavily illustrated enabling many whose first language is not English to get the maximum advantage from it.

A further publication entitled “Practical Surgical Exposures” followed, a task requiring over 600 airbrush illustrations, an undertaking that took eight years to produce. Then he co-authored with Mr Andrew Kinninmonth “An Illustrated Colour Text of Orthopaedics and Trauma” before his latest publication a “Pocketbook of Orthopaedics and Fractures”. This is now in its second edition, and has been described as an essential companion for any young casualty officer or budding orthopaedic surgeon. Compiling these publications has been a prodigious task requiring a lifetime of work, and he is still updating these despite being retired. This requires extensive reading and research. He attributes his dogged determination to go on, to the good schooling and work ethic which was instilled into him at Carrick Academy together with the unstinting support of his wife Helen, a former radiographer at the Western Infirmary whom he married shortly after he qualified. They have three children and four grandchildren.