Professor Ian Donald, MD, CBE, inventor of the first successful diagnostic ultrasound machine and the originator of the pregnancy scan, died on June 19, aged 76.

Dr. Donald became widely known in pro-life circles two years ago when during the controversy over the accuracy over the filmed ultrasound sequences in Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s film,  The Silent Scream, he signed an affidavit testifying to the veracity of the images.  The affidavit stated: “I am of the opinion that the fetal activities depicted by ultrasonic real-time scanning in this film is not faked nor the result of artefact intentional or otherwise.”

An obituary is the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet paid tribute to Dr. Donald’s pro-life beliefs.  “He was a passionate opponent of the 1967 Abortion Act because he was a passionate believer in life and he was horrified that obstetricians should be called upon to destroy human life, the very antithesis of their true calling.

Born in Scotland, Ian Donald was awarded a military MBE for acts of courage as an RAF medical officer during World War II.  His pioneering ultrasound research was conducted in Glasgow where he held the post of Regius Professor of Midwifery at Glasgow University for 22 years.  He was also honorary obstetrician at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and honorary research consultant at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.

As a teacher, The Lancet notes, “he was without peer.”  The obituary writer also paid tribute to Dr. Donald as “a brilliant clinical diagnostician” who could “get to the root of clinical problems, not just because of his acumen but also because of his understanding of the social and environmental conditions that affected his patients.”

Many honours were bestowed on him: from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Eardley Holland Gold Medal; from the Royal Society of Medicine, the Blair Bell Gold Medal; from the Royal College of Physicians, an Honorary Bonney Prize; from the Royal College of Physicians, an Honorary Fellowship; and from the European Association of Perintal Medicine, the Maternity Prize.  He was made CBE in 1983.