Skip to main content

RIE Professor Norman Dott Case Notes, 1922-1970

Identifier: LHB1 CC/20

Scope and Contents

Comprising 77 boxes of loose case notes, these records cover the early surgical career of Norman Dott, starting in the mid-1920s. At this time (1924-1931), Dott was in private practice and was given operating space by local nursing homes. From 1931, Dott worked from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE), in which he was granted four post-operative beds across Wards 13 and 14 by the Chair of Systematic Surgery at the University of Edinburgh, Sir David Wilkie. After the Department of Surgical Neurology was opened in Ward 20 of the RIE in October 1938, Dott began to succeed in his ambitions to establish surgical neurology (Dott always preferred this term to neurosurgery) as a specialism in its own right in Scotland.

These early patient case notes are a fascinating resource into the development of neurology in Scotland. Opinions and diagnoses are given at length in typed case summaries, giving a strong impression of Dott's theories and methods as he considered the prognoses and outcomes of many relatively untested procedures. These records cover the period in which Dott performed the first surgery on an intracranial subarachnoid haemorrhage by wrapping the aneurysm with muscle (1931), first stemmed intracranial haemorrhages by carotid ligation as an alternative to risk-heavy intracranial surgery (1932) and pioneered the use of angiograms to demonstrate both intracranial haemorrhage (1933) and cerebral arteriovenous malformation (1929).

Most patient case notes were originally kept in an individual folder (the order of which has been retained in their preservation) and contain a wide range of written and image record forms, for example: typed case summaries; charts; photographs; nurses' record books from private nursing homes; extensive personal correspondence; patient symptom diaries; and newspaper clippings. The volume of and variation in material present in each case file leads to more 'fat' folders than are generally present in other Dott case note series.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: 1922-1970

Language of Materials

English French German Polish

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 UK data protection legislation, 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 conveying sensitive information on named individuals may be closed to the public for a set time. Where records relate to named deceased adults, they will be open 75 years after the latest date referenced in the record, on the next 1 January. Case records of 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 1 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 by legitimate researchers 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


1981 Files

Physical Location

LA r7 b1; r8 b8

Related Materials

LHSA holds three related case note collections:

  1. LHB1 CC/24 (RIE Professor Norman Dott, Neurology, Ward 20)
  2. LHB1 CC/22 (RIE, Professor Norman Dott, Neurology, Ward 20, Filed by Disease)
  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