Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Adams, Robert (1791-1875)

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ADAMS, ROBERT (1791–1875), surgeon, was born about 1791 in Ireland, but of his early life nothing is known. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, and became B.A. in 1814, proceeded M.A. in 1832, but not M.D. till 1842. He began the study of medicine by apprenticeship to Dr. William Hartigan, became licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland in 1815, and was elected fellow in 1818. After spending some time on the Continent to perfect his medical and surgical knowledge, he returned to Dublin to practise, and was elected surgeon successively to the Jervis Street Hospital and the Richmond Hospital. He took part in founding the Richmond (afterwards called the Carmichael) School of Medicine, and lectured there on surgery for some years. He was three times elected president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and in 1861 was appointed surgeon to the queen in Ireland and regius professor of surgery in the university of Dublin. Adams had a high reputation as a surgeon and pathological anatomist. His fame chiefly rests on his ‘Treatise on Rheumatic Gout, or Chronic Rheumatic Arthritis of all the Joints’ (8vo, London, 1857, with an Atlas of Illustrations in 4to; 2nd edition, 1873). This work, though describing a disease more or less known for centuries, contains so much novel and important research as to have become the classical work on the subject. Dr. Adams also wrote an essay on ‘Disease of the Heart’ in the Dublin Hospital Reports, and contributed to Todd's ‘Cyclopædia of Anatomy and Physiology’ some articles on ‘Abnormal Conditions of the Joints,’ besides other papers in medical journals. He died on 13 Jan. 1875.

[Medical Times and Gazette, 1875, i. 133.]

J. F. P.