Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Edwards, George Nelson

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

EDWARDS, GEORGE NELSON, M.D. (1830–1868), physician, son of a surgeon, was born at Eye, Suffolk, in 1830, and received his school education in part at the grammar school of Yarmouth, and in part at that of Beccles. He obtained one of the studentships in medicine endowed by Tancred, a Yorkshire squire, at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.B. in 1851, and after studying at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, obtained the license in medicine then given by the university of Cambridge in 1854, and became M.D. in 1859. He was elected assistant-physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1860, was secretary to the medical council of the hospital from 14 Jan. 1865 to 9 Feb. 1867, and was in 1866 elected lecturer on forensic medicine in the medical school. He also held the office of medical registrar, and was elected physician to the hospital 23 Jan. 1867, but did not long enjoy that office. One day, while going round the wards, he fell down in a uræmic convulsion, was removed to his own house, and went through many of the most distressing accompaniments of chronic Bright's disease. He grew blind so gradually that he did not know when he had totally ceased to see. A physician who had been at Caius College with him used constantly to visit him, and one day found him sitting before a window through which a bright sun was shining on his face. 'Please draw up the blind,' said Edwards, unconscious that the atrophy of his optic discs was complete. He was a small man, who had been bullied at school, teased at Cambridge, and envied at St. Bartholomew's for the success which was the reward of perseverance rather than of ability. He attained considerable practice, and seemed sure of a long tenure of it when his fatal illness began. He bore it heroically, and never complained but once, and then not of his sufferings, but of a remark which made him think a candidate for his office was too anxious to succeed him. He died 6 Dec. 1868. He edited the first three volumes of the 'St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports,' 1865-7, and published in 1862 'The Examination of the Chest in a Series of Tables.' He described (St, Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, i. 141 ) two cases of poisoning by mercuric methide, the symptoms of 'which were then new to medicine, and also wrote a paper 'On the Value of Palpation in the Diagnosis of Tubercular Disease of the Lungs' (ib. ii. 216).

[Memoir by G. W. Callender in St, Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, vol. v.; MS. Minutes of Medical Council and Journals of St. Bartholomew's Hospital; information from Dr. F. Harris.]

N. M.