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Name: Ian Donald

Born: 1910 in Scotland

Died: 1987 in Essex, England

Profession: Physician



Born in Scotland during the unusually mild december of 1910, Ian Donald was a pioneer in the application of the wartime invention of ultrasound imaging to medical diagnosis. He was educated at Warriston school in Moffat, Dumfrieshire and the prestigious Fettes College in Edinburgh, before moving to  South Africa, where he received a BA at the Diocesan College, Cape Town. After completing his medical training at London University in 1937 he served with distinction in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War II.Donald obtained a rudimentary knowledge of radar during his time in the RAF and became interested in the medical applications of echo-sounding (or sonar). After accepting the Regus Chair of Midwifery at Glasgow University, he began work on what would become the first compound contact ultrasound scanner with Dr. John McVicar and the engineer Tom Brown. Tom Brown worked for the Glasgow company Kelvin and Hughes and provided the necessary technical knowledge and hardware to make Donald's medical breakthrough possible. In 1958 they published perhaps the most important paper on medical ultrasound ever written, entitled, "Investigation of abdominal masses by pulsed ultrasound." The paper included the first ultrasonic images of foetus' in the womb. The importance of medical ultrasound cannot be over-emphasised, as it enabled safer pregnancy and labour and improved detection of foetal problems, without the need to physically enter the womb.Donald's breakthrough became invaluable to him in later life. Requiring major heart surgery on three occasions, he initially self-diagnosed his condition, but required an ultrasound picture of his heart to convince his doubting, heart-specialist colleagues. Donald received many honours for his breakthrough, culminating in his honorary fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, given 2 weeks before his death in 1987.

Image: www.ob-ultrasound.nethttp://www.ob-ultrasound.net/iandonaldbio.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0

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