Saturday, May 28, 2011

X-ray Ninewells Hospital

Pamela Kierans, Radiology assistant at work Ninewells Hospital about to apply the camera to my leg with its new knee replacement. The process has advanced significantly from the times of Dr George Pirie pioneer of X-ray uses in clinical medicine.

Xray tube display at Ninewells Hospital Dundee.

Dr George A Pirie (1863-1929)

Pirie pioneered the application of X-rays to clinical medicine in Dundee. He established the first Electrical Department at Dundee Royal Infirmary in 1896 and worked there until 1925 when he retired due to ill-health. His long exposure to x-rays cost him his eyesight and both his hands had to be amputated due to radiation damage. In 1926 he was awarded a civil list pension and a Carnegie Hero Trust medal. The grateful citizens of Dundee organised a public collection for him, raising over £1,200. His name was also one of those inscribed on a memorial in Hamburg recognising early X-ray martyrs. The inscription reads:

"They were heroic pioneers for a safe and successful application of X-rays to medicine. The fame of their deeds is immortal."

The Medical History Museum holds several examples of Pirie's X-ray equipment, including early X-ray tubes, fluoroscope, protective face mask and a bottle of mustard oil, used by Pirie to ease the pain in his hands caused by repeated radiation exposure. One of Pirie's tumour-ridden hands is kept by the Pathology department at Ninewells Hospital.

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