1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Clark, Sir Andrew

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CLARK, SIR ANDREW, Bart. (1826-1893), British physician, was born at Aberdeen on the 28th of October 1826. His father, who also was a medical man, died when he was only a few years old. After attending school in Aberdeen, he was sent by his guardians to Dundee and apprenticed to a druggist; then returning to Aberdeen he began his medical studies in the university of that city. Soon, however, he went to Edinburgh, where in the extra-academical school he had a student's career of the most brilliant description, ultimately becoming assistant to J. Hughes Bennett in the pathological department of the Royal Infirmary, and assistant demonstrator of anatomy to Robert Knox. But symptoms of pulmonary phthisis brought his academic life to a close, and in the hope that the sea might benefit his health he joined the medical department of the navy in 1848. Next year he became pathologist to the Haslar hospital, where T. H. Huxley was one of his colleagues, and in 1853 he was the successful candidate for the newly-instituted post of curator to the museum of the London hospital. Here he intended to devote all his energies to pathology, but circumstances brought him into active medical practice. In 1854, the year in which he took his doctor's degree at Aberdeen, the post of assistant-physician to the hospital became vacant and he was prevailed upon to apply for it. He was fond of telling how his phthisical tendencies gained him the appointment. “He is only a poor Scotch doctor,” it was said, “with but a few months to live; let him have it.” He had it, and two years before his death publicly declared that of those who were on the staff of the hospital at the time of his selection he was the only one remaining alive. In 1854 he became a member of the College of Physicians, and in 1858 a fellow, and then went in succession through all the offices of honour the college has to offer, ending in 1888 with the presidency, which he continued to hold till his death. From the time of his selection as assistant physician to the London hospital, his fame rapidly grew until he became a fashionable doctor with one of the largest practices in London, counting among his patients some of the most distinguished men of the day. The great number of persons who passed through his consulting-room every morning rendered it inevitable that to a large extent his advice should become stereotyped and his prescriptions often reduced to mere stock formulae, but in really serious cases he was not to be surpassed in the skill and carefulness of his diagnosis and in his attention to detail. In spite of the claims of his practice he found time to produce a good many books, all written in the precise and polished style on which he used to pride himself. Doubtless owing largely to personal reasons, lung diseases and especially fibroid phthisis formed his favourite theme, but he also discussed other subjects, such as renal inadequacy, anaemia, constipation, &c. He died in London on the 6th of November 1893, after a paralytic stroke which was probably the result of persistent overwork.