Ramsbotham, Francis Henry (DNB00)

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RAMSBOTHAM, FRANCIS HENRY, M.D. (1801–1868), medical writer, was born in 1801. His father, who was physician to the Royal Maternity Charity, enjoyed a large obstetric practice in East London. Francis received his medical education at the London Hospital, and at Edinburgh University, where he graduated M.D. in 1822. He became a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1822, and fellow in 1844. Eventually he succeeded to his father's business, and for many years was largely employed in consulting practice. He was appointed obstetric physician and lecturer on obstetric and forensic medicine at the London Hospital, and physician to the Royal Maternity Charity; he was also president of the Harveian and Hunterian societies, and vice-president of the Pathological Society. Ultimately he removed from New Broad Street to Portman Square, but his professional prospects were not improved. Ill-health obliged him to relinquish practice and retire to the country. He died at Woodend, Perth, the residence of his son, on 7 July 1868.

As a practitioner Ramsbotham's chief rival was David Daniel Davis, M.D. [q. v.], with whom he long sustained the chief honour of representing English midwifery abroad. As a lecturer he was dogmatic, but his teaching was sound and effective, while his splendid presence and enthusiasm made him a favourite with students. As an author Ramsbotham's reputation rests on ‘The Principles and Practice of Obstetric Medicine and Surgery,’ 8vo; 2nd edit. 1844; 4th edit. 1856; 5th edit. 1867; 5th American edit., Philadelphia, 1849. This was one of the first medical books brought out with expensive illustrations, and was very successful. He published also: 1. ‘Obstetric Tables,’ 1844. 2. ‘Suggestions in reference to the Means of advancing Medical Science,’ 8vo, London, 1857. To the ‘Medical Gazette’ for 1834 and 1835 he contributed lectures on midwifery; he wrote also papers in the ‘Medical Times and Gazette’ for 1852 and 1853, and in other medical journals.

[Lancet, 18 July 1868, p. 100; British Medical Journal, 18 July, 1868, p. 62; Medical Times and Gazette, 4 Jan. 1868, p. 22; Medical Register, 1859, p. 246; London and Provincial Medical Directory, 1865, p. 480; Athenæum, 1857, p. 910; Allibone's Dict. of English Lit. ii. 1735.]

G. G.