Dr James Ross Mackenzie

Personal Details

Dr James Ross Mackenzie

1879 to 24/09/1963

Place of birth: Aberdeen

Nationality: British

CRN: 715255

Education and qualifications

General education

Schooling not known; Aberdeen University

Primary medical qualification(s)

MB ChB, Aberdeen, 1906

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

MD, Aberdeen, 1912

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After graduating, Mackenzie worked in general practice, initially in Stirlingshire and South Wales, but returned to Aberdeen in 1912. His interest in anaesthesia grew from that time and, appointed assistant anaesthetist at the Infirmary in 1919, he took up the specialty full-time from 1929 (probably the first in Scotland to do so). He was appointed anaesthetist in 1937, and also served as Lecturer in Anaesthetics to the University. He retired before the start of WW2, but returned to work during the war, finally retiring in 1946 when he was appointed honorary consulting anaesthetist.

Professional interests and activities

At a time when most anaesthetics were given by general practitioners, and there was no formal postgraduate training, Mackenzie argued the case for better training of medical students. However, he recognised that anaesthetists needed enhanced academic status themselves if they were to undertake this and, as early as 1931, he was indicating the need for a Diploma in Anaesthetics. His popular book, ‘Practical Anaesthetics’ was produced in 1944 as a guide to that examination. In 1937, as senior anaesthetist, he persuaded the governors of the Infirmary to appoint a resident anaesthetist to improve the management of emergency patients. Clinically, a pioneer of the nitrous oxide, oxygen and ether technique, he served as President of the Scottish Society for nearly two years, his predecessor having been killed in a road accident, and was a member of the inaugural council of the AAGBI. He received the DA(RCP&S) without examination in 1937.


Other biographical information

He was the first anaesthetist to serve as President of the Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society, WW2 conditions meaning that he held the post from 1938 to 1944.

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: [1] Obituary. Anaesthesia 1964; 19: 156 [2] Milne GP (Ed). Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society: A Bicentennial History 1789-1989. Aberdeen: Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society, 1989 [3] Levack ID, Dudley HAF (Eds). Aberdeen Royal Infirmary: The People’s Hospital of the North-East. Aberdeen: Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society, 1992 I thank Dr Iain Levack for reviewing the script.