Dr George Maxwell Brown

Personal Details

Dr George Maxwell Brown

23/08/1883 - 20/04/1960

Place of birth: Edinburgh

Nationality: British

CRN: 715343

Also known as: Max or Maxie


Education and qualifications

General education

Loretto School, Edinburgh; University of Edinburgh

Primary medical qualification(s)

MB ChB, Edinburgh, 1912

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

LDS, Edinburgh, 1925

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After qualifying in 1912 Brown was a resident in the Royal Infirmary (RIE) and briefly in general practice near Edinburgh before volunteering for the RAMC, serving in Egypt and France during WW1. Demobilised he worked for the Ministry of Pensions before becoming a student again in 1922, qualifying LDS Edinburgh in 1925.

Unlike Edinburgh’s medical students, its dental students received formal training in anaesthesia and Brown was one of several double graduates who specialised in anaesthesia and made significant contributions to the specialty in the city. He became a principal member of the pioneer neurosurgical team in the RIE led by Norman Dott, introducing modern techniques of anaesthesia and taking responsibility for many aspects of perioperative care.

During WW2 the unit moved to an Emergency Medical Service hospital at Bangor in West Lothian, catering for both civilian and military patients. He retired in 1950.

Professional interests and activities

Besides his clinical involvement with the neurosurgical service Brown was a skilled engineer and produced many items of both anaesthetic and surgical equipment for the unit without claiming any personal credit. He continued this work into retirement and also worked with John Gillies on the provision of training in anaesthesia and in the modernisation of anaesthetic services on the wider front in Edinburgh.

His BMJ obituary describes him as the ‘doyen’ of Edinburgh anaesthetists and includes a fulsome tribute from Dott.

Other biographical information

He married Joy Wynyard in 1920 and they had one daughter.

Author and sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: [1] Anonymous. Obituary. BMJ 1960; 1: 1435-6 [2] Payne JP, Masson AHB. The contribution of the Edinburgh Dental School to the advancement of anaesthesia. Proceedings of the History of Anaesthesia Society 2001; 29: 68-74