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
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.
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
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.