Roupell, George Leith (DNB00)

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ROUPELL, GEORGE LEITH, M.D. (1797–1854), physician, eldest son of George Boon Roupell of Chartham Park, Sussex, and his wife Frances, daughter of Robert M'Culloch of Chartham, a master in chancery, was born on 18 Sept. 1797. The first of the family who settled in England spelt the name Rüpell, and was an officer in William III's army, and a native of Hesse-Cassel. George Leith was sent to Dr. Burney's school at Greenwich, and, having obtained a Tancred studentship in medicine, entered at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1815. He took no degree in arts, but graduated M.B. in 1820, became a licentiate in medicine in 1824, and M.D. in 1825, and on 30 Sept. 1826 was elected a fellow of the College of Physicians. He was a censor in 1829, 1837, and 1838, gave the Croonian lectures in 1832 on general pathology, and in 1833 on cholera. The latter course was published in the same year. After some practice as physician to the Seamen's Hospital Society and to the Foundling Hospital, he was appointed physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital on 19 June 1834, in succession to Dr. Edward Roberts. He published in 1833 ‘Illustrations of the Effects of Poisons,’ a series of notes upon drawings made by George McWhinnie, a demonstrator at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1837 he read before the College of Physicians, and afterwards published, ‘Some Account of a Fever prevalent in the year 1831.’ He proposed the name ‘febris typhodes rubeoloida’ for this epidemic disease, of which twelve out of seventy-five cases were fatal, and which seems to have been what is now known as epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis, a disease rare in England, but well known in Germany. He published in 1839 ‘A Short Treatise on Typhus Fever,’ based on observations made in the wards of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, but containing more extracts from other writers than notes of what he had seen in his own practice. The most interesting observation is in relation to the infection of typhus being conveyed by a corpse. He mentions that 136 students of anatomy at St. Bartholomew's minutely dissected seventeen bodies, in which the cause of death was typhus, while only two took the disease, and these were also exposed to contact with living patients. In 1838 he succeeded to his father's estates, and thenceforward was less active in practice. He contracted cholera at Boulogne, and died in Welbeck Street, London, after twenty-six hours' illness, on 29 Sept. 1854. He was unmarried. He bequeathed some portraits and books to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and his portrait hangs in the hall of its college.

[[[Gent. Mag.]] 1854, ii. 520-1; Munk's Coll. of Phys.; Lancet, October 1854; manuscript records St. Bartholomew's Hospital; Works.]

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