Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Extracts from the evidence of Dr Donald MacDonald, Laggan, 20 August 1912
EXTERNAL ID
HLH_DEWAR100_020
DATE OF IMAGE
20 August 1912
PERIOD
1910s
SOURCE
Highland Archive Centre
ASSET ID
1650
KEYWORDS
Highlands and Islands Medical Services Committee
Dewar Report
Dewar Committee
Dewar Centenary
Extracts from the evidence of Dr Donald MacDonald, Laggan, 20 August 1912

The Committee were told the story of a doctor who was called out during a harsh winter's night. As he travelled from Oban to a shepherd's house some 12 miles off he was caught in a snow storm, lost his way and had to be guided back to his house by another shepherd. In a separate incident, a Dr Macdonald from Badenoch received a hero's medal for crossing a hill to reach a patient, at great risk to his own life.

On 9th January 1910, there was a heavy thaw and a severe gale of wind in the Badenoch district of Inverness. Dr Macdonald received a telegram informing him that a patient who lived at a distance of 22 miles was seriously ill.

Starting out at seven o'clock in the morning he made his way by Dalwhinnie and the side of Loch Ericht to Ben Alder Lodge, where it was found that it was not possible to complete the journey by the usual road, inasmuch as the streams which had to be crossed were greatly swollen. He accordingly made his way through a forest and over a shoulder of Ben Alder, travelling on foot a distance of about twelve miles, and being under the necessity of wading across many mountain streams, which were swollen into torrents. Masses of snow and ice were floating down the streams, and the footing to be obtained among the boulders was uncertain, rendering the task one of considerable danger.

He did not reach the house of his patient until six o'clock in the evening when it was found that the patient was seriously ill with pneumonia. Although Dr Macdonald was far from well after the long day's exposure and exertion, it is stated that he worked with the patient the whole evening and night and on into the following day until there were signs of recovery. For some time, Dr Macdonald felt the effects of the journey, although he was able to continue his work.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Trustees awarded a Bronze Medallion to Dr Macdonald in view of the courage which he showed in exceptional circumstances with the object of saving the life of a patient.


This image is part of an online exhibition marking the centenary of The Highlands and Islands Medical Services Committee, commonly referred to as the Dewar Committee after its chairman, Sir John Dewar MP. The Committee's report paved the way for the first state provided health service in the world, the Highlands and Islands Medical Service, which revolutionised medical provision and is considered to be the precursor to the National Health Service. Click here to go to the start of the exhibition.

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Extracts from the evidence of Dr Donald MacDonald, Laggan, 20 August 1912

1910s

Highlands and Islands Medical Services Committee; Dewar Report; Dewar Committee; Dewar Centenary

Highland Archive Centre

Highlands and Islands Medical Services Committee & Report

The Committee were told the story of a doctor who was called out during a harsh winter's night. As he travelled from Oban to a shepherd's house some 12 miles off he was caught in a snow storm, lost his way and had to be guided back to his house by another shepherd. In a separate incident, a Dr Macdonald from Badenoch received a hero's medal for crossing a hill to reach a patient, at great risk to his own life. <br /> <br /> On 9th January 1910, there was a heavy thaw and a severe gale of wind in the Badenoch district of Inverness. Dr Macdonald received a telegram informing him that a patient who lived at a distance of 22 miles was seriously ill. <br /> <br /> Starting out at seven o'clock in the morning he made his way by Dalwhinnie and the side of Loch Ericht to Ben Alder Lodge, where it was found that it was not possible to complete the journey by the usual road, inasmuch as the streams which had to be crossed were greatly swollen. He accordingly made his way through a forest and over a shoulder of Ben Alder, travelling on foot a distance of about twelve miles, and being under the necessity of wading across many mountain streams, which were swollen into torrents. Masses of snow and ice were floating down the streams, and the footing to be obtained among the boulders was uncertain, rendering the task one of considerable danger. <br /> <br /> He did not reach the house of his patient until six o'clock in the evening when it was found that the patient was seriously ill with pneumonia. Although Dr Macdonald was far from well after the long day's exposure and exertion, it is stated that he worked with the patient the whole evening and night and on into the following day until there were signs of recovery. For some time, Dr Macdonald felt the effects of the journey, although he was able to continue his work. <br /> <br /> The Carnegie Hero Fund Trustees awarded a Bronze Medallion to Dr Macdonald in view of the courage which he showed in exceptional circumstances with the object of saving the life of a patient.<br /> <br /> <br /> <i>This image is part of an online exhibition marking the centenary of The Highlands and Islands Medical Services Committee, commonly referred to as the Dewar Committee after its chairman, Sir John Dewar MP. The Committee's report paved the way for the first state provided health service in the world, the Highlands and Islands Medical Service, which revolutionised medical provision and is considered to be the precursor to the National Health Service. Click <a href=http://www.ambaile.org.uk/en/set/show_content_page.html?category=3&set=29&qw= >here</a> to go to the start of the exhibition.</i>