A surgeon in the House of Lords
Ian McColl is a member of the British House of Lords; emeritus professor of surgery at Guy's Hospital, in London; vice chairman of the international board of Mercy Ships; and president of Leprosy Mission International. Elizabeth H Tissingh spoke to him about life as a student, surgeon, and politician
I met a surgeon when I was 8 years old on holiday on the island of Arran, in Scotland. He was such a charming man, with a great sense of humour, that I decided I wanted to follow in his footsteps. Later, when I was studying medicine at Guy's Hospital, in London, I thought about going into psychiatry. But in the end I decided that surgery was what I really wanted to do, particularly on the academic side. In those days nobody really wanted to do academic surgery at Guy's, and when I mentioned my ambition to the people in charge they asked me if I was feeling ill.
After house jobs, I taught physiology and anatomy at Guy's and then worked as a junior doctor in Barnet, in orthopaedics; Great Ormond Street, in paediatrics; St Peter's, in urology; St Mark's in lower intestinal; and in Putney Hospital, St Olave's,