Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Sir Dominic Corrigan

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 4
Sir Dominic Corrigan

by James Joseph Walsh


Physician, b. 1802, in Dublin, Ireland; d. there, 1880; distinguished for his original observations in heart disease, a special type of pulse being named after him. The son of a poor shopkeeper, his early education was obtained at Maynooth, which then had a department for secular students apart from the ecclesiastical seminary. He was attracted to the study of medicine by the physician in attendance. After several years of medical study in Dublin he followed the prevailing custom of the time and went to Edinburgh where he received his degree as M.D. in 1825. After his return to Dublin he was appointed physician to the Jervis Street Hospital, which had but six medical beds. During the next four years he studied certain forms of heart disease to such good purpose that he recast the teaching of diseases of the aortic valves. His article on "Permanent Patency of the Aortic Valves" appeared in the Edinburgh "Medical and Surgical Journal" for April, 1832. He was eminently successful as a teacher of medicine. In 1842 the London College of Surgeons conferred on him its diploma. In 1849 he received from the University of Dublin the honorary degree of M. D. He was known as a very hard-working physician, and his self-sacrificing devotion during the famine fever years made him famous. His "Lectures on Fevers" (Dublin, 1853) are a valuable contribution to our knowledge of this subject. He was created a baronet partly as a reward for his services as Commissioner of Education for many years. He was a member of Parliament in the Liberal interest for five years after 1869. He was defeated for re-election in 1874 by the liquor interest which he had antagonized by supporting the Sunday Closing Bill. He was President of the Royal Zoological Society of Dublin, of the Dublin Pathological Society, of the Dublin Pharmaceutical Society, and was five times elected President of the College of Physicians in Dublin, an unprecedented honour. His work on heart disease stamps him as a great original investigator in medicine. Trousseau, the French clinician, proposed that aortic heart disease should be called Corrigan's disease.

Sketches in Brit. Med. Journal and The Lancet (1880); WALSH, Makers of Modern Medicine (New York, 1907).

JAMES J. WALSH