Caroline Doig

Caroline Doig (cropped).jpg

Caroline Doig (1938 – 14 November 2019) was a paediatric surgeon and the first woman to be elected to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh council.

Early life and education

Doig was born in Forfar, Scotland, in 1938. She attended the South School in Forfar, and Forfar Academy.[1]

She graduated from the University of St Andrews, and began surgical training in Dundee, followed by paediatric training in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London,[2][3] where she received her ChM (Master in Surgery) on staphylococcal wound infection and bacterial transmission.[4]


Her first post was at Dundee Royal Infirmary in 1962.[1] In 1975, Doig became a senior lecturer in paediatric surgery at the University of Manchester. She worked as Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Booth Hall Children's Hospital and St Mary's Hospital in Manchester.[5]

Doig was elected to The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh council in 1984, serving three terms of office. She was the first women elected to Council at The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and at any royal college.[6]

She was also Chairman of the General Medical Council in 1991, the first woman to hold this position.[2] She was also been President of the Medical Women's Federation in the 1980s, a body which promotes women in medicine.[6]

Doig retired in April 2000.[1]

In 2018, she was invited to unveil a plaque at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh commemorating the achievements of the 'Edinburgh Seven', the first group of matriculated undergraduate female students at any British university.[5]


In 2007, the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh awarded the first Hunter-Doig Medal. It is named for Caroline Doig and Alice Headwards-Hunter, the first woman to sit and pass the examinations of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1920.[7] The silver medal is awarded by the The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh every second year, recognising excellence within the female membership.[6]

Personal life

Doig published her autobiography, Enilorac: Hands of a Lady in 2018, on her experiences becoming a surgeon.[6]

Doig died on 14 November 2019, aged 81.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b c d Brown, Graham. "Pioneering Forfar-born female surgeon Caroline Doig dies, aged 81". The Courier. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  2. ^ a b "Britain's Oldest Surgical Royal College Honours Pioneering Female Doctors". The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. 2018. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  3. ^ a b "Pioneering surgeon who beat gender barrier to reach the top". PressReader. The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee). 7 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  4. ^ "Caroline May Doig obituary". British Association of Paediatric Surgeons. 2020-01-13. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  5. ^ a b "Pioneering female medics honoured on International Women's Day". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  6. ^ a b c d "Hunter-Doig: A medal awarded to future women in surgery inspired by two groundbreaking female surgeons who helped make that a possibility". The Anatomy Lab. 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  7. ^ "Hunter Doig Medal". The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2020-01-13.

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