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RIE, Professor Norman Dott, Neurology, Ward 20 (part 4), 1925-1976

Identifier: LHB1 CC/24 (18001-21371)

Scope and Contents

Although some earlier case records contain only handwritten notes, most cases in this series are represented in typed case summaries with a fairly uniform structure. These case summaries are considerably more succinct than the summaries written during Dott's early years as a neurosurgeon in private practice (LHB1/20). Consequently, the records of more than one patient were originally housed in a single folder, an order which has been retained in the preservation and rehousing of the case notes. Although there are many brief patient records in this series, there are still 'fatter' files, covering lengthy or more complicated cases. In addition to typed case summaries, these records could include photographs, charts, correspondence, reports and handwritten notes. Yellow stickers indicate the presence of photographs. Blue, green or red stickers indicate the existence of corresponding x-ray plates (not included in the scope of the final project bid.)Yellow stickers on case note folders indicate the presence of photographs. A blue, yellow or red sticker indicates that an x-ray film has been removed for long-term preservation purposes. Please note that these cases may contain photographs taken at post-mortem examination.


  • Creation: 1925-1976

Language of Materials


Physical Description

genreform: Paper, black-and-white photographs, glass plate negatives and x-ray film

Conditions Governing Access

Public access to these records is governed by the UK Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, and the current Scottish Government Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland). Whilst some records may be accessed freely by researchers, the aforementioned legislation and guidelines mean that records containing sensitive information on named individuals may be closed to the public for a set time. Where records contain information relating to named deceased adults, they will be open 75 years after the latest date referenced in the record, on the next 01 January. Records containing sensitive information on individuals below 18 years of age or adults not proven to be deceased will be open 100 years after the latest date recorded in the record, on the next 01 January. Further information on legislation and guidelines covering medical records can be found on the LHSA webpage.

LHSA encourages the use of these records for legitimate clinical, historical and genealogical research purposes, and records that are designated as closed can be consulted if certain conditions are met. Please contact the LHSA Archivist for more details regarding procedures on how you can apply for permission to view closed records. Telephone us on: 0131 650 3392 or email us at

Biographical / Historical

Dott received an offer from Sir David Wilkie (then the university's Chair of Systematic Surgery) of four post-operative recovery beds and operative space in wards 13 and 14 of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) in 1931, giving Edinburgh dedicated facilities devoted to neurosurgery for the first time. In 1937, funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and gifts from Sir Alexander Grant (of the McVitie and Price biscuit company) allowed Dott to establish the first Department of Surgical Neurology in Scotland in Ward 20 of the RIE. Planned with 22 beds, operating facilities, accommodation for private patients, photographic and artists' studios and a dedicated laboratory, the Department welcomed its first patients in October 1938. When Dott's Brain Injuries Unit was opened as part of the Emergency Hospital Service in 1939, he split his time between work at the RIE and the Brain Injuries Unit at Bangour General Hospital during the Second World War. During the war, operations, emergency and acute care took place at Bangour General Hospital and preparation and convalescence at the RIE, a situation which was to be reversed after 1945. In the post-war years, Dott found that an increasing percentage of his cases were attributable to road accidents. Dott was based at the RIE until 1960, when the new Department of Surgical Neurology was opened at the Western General Hospital, to which Dott contributed a great deal in design, especially in operating theatres that were equipped with anti-reflector vaulted roofs to prevent shadow during procedures. Ward 20 of the RIE was re-designated as a new Head and Spinal Injuries Unit, and work at the Brain Injuries Unit of Bangour General Hospital ceased. These case notes reflect Dott's work (with civilian patients) throughout this period.


6000 Files

Physical Location

LA r7 b1; r8 b8

Related Materials

LHSA holds three related case note collections:

  1. LHB1 CC/22 (RIE Professor Norman Dott, Neurology, Ward 20, Filed by Disease)
  2. LHB1 CC/20 (RIE, Professor Norman Dott Case Notes)
  3. LHB40 CC/2 (Bangour EMS Surgical Neurology Case Notes)

Papers from the Department of Surgical Neurology form part of LHSA's Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh collection (LHB1/61A). LHSA also holds a number of medical illustrations and demonstration boards made for teaching, clinical practice and research output. Please consult LHSA Archivist for more details. The Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh, holds personal papers from Norman Dott (GB237 Coll-32).

Physical Description

genreform: Paper, black-and-white photographs, glass plate negatives and x-ray film


Repository Details

Part of the Lothian Health Services Archive: Case Notes Repository