Burns, Allan (DNB00)

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BURNS, ALLAN (1781–1813), surgeon and anatomist, was born at Glasgow on 18 Sept. 1781, his father, Dr. John Burns, being minister of the Barony Church. He commenced medical study at fourteen under his brother, John Burns [q. v.], who then lectured on anatomy and surgery in Glasgow. In 1804 he went to London to seek medical service in the army, and was induced to go to St. Petersburg to take charge of a hospital about to be established by the Empress Catherine on the English plan; but finding the position uncongenial, he returned to Scotland in a few months. Burns now established himself as a lecturer on anatomy and surgery at Glasgow, his brother having given up his lectures on anatomy, owing to a body-snatching scandal. He attained very considerable success, being both vivid in illustration and accurate in knowledge. In 1809 he published ‘Observations on Diseases of the Heart,’ and in 1812 ‘Observations on the Surgical Anatomy of the Head and Neck;’ but from 1810 his health began to fail, and his promising career was cut short by his death on 22 June 1813.

[R. Chambers's Eminent Scotsmen (Thomson), i. 251.]

G. T. B.