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Ex-GP is inspired to pen medical memoir

By Caroline McMorran

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A retired GP has mined the rich seam of his professional life and come up with a collection of 16 enthralling medical stories, some of which are about patients in Sutherland.

Hawick-based Dr Peter Paterson-Brown (88), who has a holiday home in Golspie and has served as a locum in East Sutherland, has just published the third edition of his book, The Memoirs of a Country Doctor, after his first two editions were a sell-out success.

Aside from telling stories to his four children when they were young, his only previous foray into writing was an emergency first aid book, A Matter of Life and Death.

He said: “It is difficult to explain why suddenly at 88 I should want to write a book. I just recalled a rather good story one day and thought I would write it down and once I started, I could not stop. All the stories are factually true but I have changed names and places to preserve confidentiality.”

Dr Paterson-Brown enjoyed a 40-year medical career after graduating from Edinburgh University in 1955. He initially intended specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology but thought he would do a year in general practice first to experience “real life”. And he was then offered a partnership at a practice in Hawick where he remained for the rest of his career.

He never kept a diary but says details of the medical cases he dealt with are all “inside his head” and that he found great satisfaction and pleasure in his career.

After retiring in 1991, he undertooksome locum stints at East Sutherland surgeries on the request of a local doctor who is friendly with Dr Paterson-Brown’s son, himself a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh.

A keen golfer and angler, Dr Paterson-Brown has a lifelong connection with the county. He first holidayed with his parents in Brora in 1946 and has returned virtually every year since, later bringing his own family – he has four children and eight grandchildren, a number of whom have followed him into the medical profession. In 1991 he bought a holiday home in Golspie.

“I have a strong attachment to this area. I love it here,” he said.

He has no immediate plans to write another book, despite being continually asked to do so by family and friends.

The Memoirs of a Country Doctor (priced £5) is now availablein Sutherland. Copies can be bought at Lindsay’s Hardware Store and Mitchell Chemist in Golspie and also from the Otter’s Couch in Brora.

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