Dr Alan Gibb

1919 – 2020

Alan Gibb was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and then the University of Aberdeen, where and graduated MBChB (1941). Gibb’s mother was a general practitioner, so is unsurprising that he embarked upon a medical career for himself, which resulted in him becoming one of world’s leading ear, nose and throat experts. Gibb was, from 1950–84, a distinguished and internationally acclaimed expert at Dundee Royal Infirmary and Ninewells Hospital. He was responsible for the creation of an ENT department renowned not only for its outstanding quality, but for the excellence of the education it provided for trainees from the UK and abroad.

During the war, he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a specialist ear surgeon and, on his return, he qualified for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. After specialist training in Aberdeen and Carlisle, he began work in Dundee as a dedicated ear surgeon at a time when the operating microscope allowed for the development of precise surgical techniques that had hitherto been impossible. As President of the Royal Society of Medicine Section of Otology (1975), the Scottish Otolaryngological Society (1979–80) and the British Association of Otolaryngologists (1981–84), he lectured extensively at home and abroad, and was an adviser to the Medical Research Council on hearing matters.

Upon his retirement, Gibb served as Visiting Professor of Otolaryngology in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore where he spent 12 years restructuring the education programmes for medical students and surgical trainees. His techniques were widely adopted by other medical and surgical specialties and he was called upon to advise the Australian College of Surgeons. In honour of Gibb, the Chinese University of Hong Kong established the annual Alan Gibb prize for the best undergraduate student.

BMJ 2020;371:m4228 (Published 29 October 2020)

Biography prepared from the nomination made to the University of Aberdeen 525 Alumni project.