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December 26, 1966


JAMA. 1966;198(13):1363-1364. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110260075025

Robert Lawson Tait, who had dropped the forename by the time he began his medical writing, was born in Edinburgh. Although his contributions were made while at Birmingham, England, he is characterized by his biographers as a rugged, indefatigable son of Scotland. He received his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Edinburgh without coming up for a degree. The deficiency was no handicap to the brilliant pupil of Sir James Y. Simpson, and at an early age Tait was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.1 In 1867, he was appointed house-surgeon to the Wakefield hospital, where, during a three-year tenure, he performed bold surgery in the abdomen, including an ovariotomy. Tait moved to Birmingham in 1870, became a leading surgical and civic figure in the community, and, within a year, was appointed surgeon to the newly founded Hospital for Diseases of