1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/MacCormac, Sir William

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MacCORMAC, SIR WILLIAM, Bart. (1836–1901), Irish surgeon, was born at Belfast on the 17th of January 1836, being the son of Dr Henry MacCormac. He studied medicine and surgery at Belfast, Dublin and Paris, and graduated in arts, medicine and surgery at the Queen’s University of Ireland, in which he afterwards became an examiner in surgery. He began practice in Belfast, where he became surgeon to the General Hospital, but left it for London on his marriage in 1861 to Miss Katherine M. Charters. In the Franco-German War of 1870 he was surgeon-in-chief to the Anglo-American Ambulance, and was present at Sedan; and he also went through the Turco-Servian War of 1876. He became in this way an authority on gun-shot wounds, and besides being highly successful as a surgeon was very popular in society, his magnificent physique and Irish temperament making him a notable and attractive personality. In 1881 he was appointed assistant-surgeon at St Thomas’s Hospital, London, and for twenty years continued his work there as surgeon, lecturer and consulting surgeon. In 1881 he acted as honorary secretary-general of the International Medical Congress in London, and was knighted for his services. In 1883 he was elected member of the council of the College of Surgeons, and in 1887 a member of the court of examiners; in 1893 he delivered the Bradshaw lecture, and in 1896 was elected president, being re-elected to this office in 1897, 1898, 1899, and 1900 (the centenary year of the college), an unprecedented record. In 1897 he was created a baronet, and appointed surgeon-in-ordinary to the prince of Wales. In 1899 he was Hunterian Orator. In the same year he volunteered to go out to South Africa as consulting surgeon to the forces, and from November 1899 to April 1900 he saw much active service both in Cape Colony and Natal, his assistance being cordially acknowledged on his return. In 1901 he was appointed honorary serjeant-surgeon to the king. But during 1898 he had suffered from a prolonged illness, and he had perhaps put too much strain on his strength, for on the 4th of December 1901 he died somewhat suddenly at Bath. Besides treatises on Surgical Operations and Antiseptic Surgery, and numerous contributions to the medical journals, MacCormac was the author of Work under the Red Cross and of an interesting volume commemorating the centenary of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1900. The latter contains biographical notices of all the masters and presidents up to that date.