Lives of the fellows

Alasdair Colin Frame Kenmure

b.31 December 1933 d.10 May 1995
BSc Glasg(1955) MB ChB(1959) MRCP Glasg(1964) MRCP Edin(1964) MRCP(1965) MD(1971) FRCP Glasg(1974) FRCP(1977)

Alasdair Colin Frame Kenmure was a consultant cardiologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. He was born in Glasgow, where his father was a chartered accountant and his mother had the distinction of being the first woman to be ordained a minister in Scotland. Alasdair was educated at Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow, and studied medicine at Glasgow University, obtaining a BSc with honours in 1955 and graduating in 1959.

After graduation Alasdair worked as a house surgeon in the Southern General Hospital and house physician in Stobhill General Hospital before embarking on two years National Service. During this period he served as regimental medical officer to the First Battalion The Black Watch in Cyprus and North Africa. At the end of these duties Alasdair returned to Glasgow and continued his medical training, gaining membership of the London College in 1965 and his MD with honours in 1971. In the same year he was appointed consultant cardiologist and clinical senior lecturer to the North Eastern Hospital Board, Scotland.

Following his consultant appointment Alasdair pioneered the development of acute coronary care medicine at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Initially he had only six beds, occupying one half of a day patient surgery area, but his insistence and persuasion soon resulted in expansion to the present twelve bedded purpose-built unit, with open access from the whole of the Grampian region for acute management of myocardial infarction. He introduced and established coronary arteriography in Aberdeen in 1972. This paved the way for coronary artery bypass surgery, which has since expanded to fill the workload of three cardiac surgeons. He also pioneered coronary angioplasty in Aberdeen. He served on the councils of the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association of Scotland and the Scottish Cardiac Society and as examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Alasdair was a tireless worker with a phenomenal capacity for work, and demanded the same from his staff, yet he endeared himself to them by the sense of humour which pervaded all his activity. Alasdair married his wife, Norma, in 1961 and they had three children. His hobbies, when he found time for them, were travelling, hillwalking, gardening and playing bridge. He planned to retire in March 1995, but in January of that year he was diagnosed as having myeloma. Though suffering increasing pain and disability, he continued working to the end. His last days were spent in hospital, having developed hypercalcaemia. He suffered a cardiac arrest and died in the coronary care unit which he had set up and run for twenty five years. At the entrance to the unit there now stands a tablet which reads: "This plaque is to mark the outstanding contribution of Dr Alasdair Kenmure MD FRCP in the Coronary Care Unit in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary between 1971 and 1995". Sir Christopher Wren’s famous epitaph would not be inappropriate: ‘Si monumentum requiris, circumspice’.

David Short

[Brit.med.J., 1995,311,1086]

(Volume X, page 276)

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