Caroline Doig was born in Forfar, Angus in 1938. Her early education was at Forfar Academy where she excelled. Having decided to study medicine, she went to St. Andrews University. Her postgraduate training took her to hospitals in Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Durham and eventually to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for specialist training. She received her ChM on the topic of staphylococcal wound infection and bacterial transmission.
In 1975, her consultant appointment was at the University of Manchester and Booth Hall Children’s Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, where she developed a reputation of international renown in paediatric gastroenterology.
Throughout her career Caroline had many significant achievements. She was the first women appointed to council of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, became president of the Medical Women’s Federation and following election to the General Medical Council, she served and chaired a number of committees, including the Overseas Registration Committee and Assessment Referral Committee; again, a first for women.
Another important achievement for Caroline was the institution of the Hunter Doig medal, a biannual award to recognise excellence in the female membership of the College.
Caroline had great energy and a number of passions drove her in different directions. She had tremendous devotion to her patients and families, and this was reciprocated with warmth. She maintained a passion for teaching and training throughout and this created a collection of surgeons in the UK and around the world who were trained under her wing and went onto their own great achievements.
Caroline had a wicked sense of humour- feigning injury and unconsciousness at Booth Hall to wind up her junior team, summed her up. She also did not suffer fools gladly , a trait for which she was well recognised. She had many admirers throughout the world and there is no place she visited, where she left without a friend, more often a gentleman!
Following her retiral Caroline maintained her relationship with the College, presenting the Hunter-Doig medal. She continued her enjoyment of life through international travelling from her home in her beloved Edinburgh.
In the year before her death, her autobiography was published -Enilorac, Hands of a Lady, which details the journey of a young woman facing the challenging a career in surgery, and her adventures along the way. This is a must read for any potential surgeon or indeed any trainee irrespective of career choice.
In this new world of anodyne personality, Caroline was an exception. She will be missed.
Caroline died peacefully in her sleep on November 14th 2019.
James Bruce, Manchester