Keate, Thomas (DNB00)

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KEATE, THOMAS (1745–1821), surgeon, was born in 1745, became a pupil at St. George's Hospital, London, and was afterwards assistant to John Gunning [q. v.], surgeon to the hospital. On a vacancy arising in the surgeoncy in succession to Charles Hawkins, there was a sharp contest (1792) between Keate and Home (afterwards Sir Everard), whom John Hunter favoured. Keate was elected [see Hunter, John, (1728– 1793)]. He succeeded Hunter in 1793 as surgeon-general to the army. He was an examiner at the College of Surgeons from 1800, and master in 1802, 1809, 1818. He was an excellent surgeon, and was the first to tie the subclavian artery for aneurysm (see G. J. Guthrie, On Wounds and Injuries of the Arteries). But he was unpunctual and negligent of his hospital duties, and in 1813 he resigned his hospital appointment. He was surgeon to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV, and to Chelsea Hospital, where he died 5 July 1821, aged 76.

Keate wrote little on surgery. He published ‘Cases of Hydrocele and Hernia,’ 4to, London, 1788, and several controversial papers, the chief being ‘Observations on the Fifth Report of the Commissioners of Medical Enquiry,’ 4to, London, 1808; the report had censured many points in Keate's administration (see also R. Jackson, M.D., Letter to Mr. Keate, 1808, and Letter to the Commissioners of Military Enquiry, 1808).

[Gent. Mag. 1821, vol. xci. pt. ii. p. 93; Sir B. Brodie's Autobiography; St. George's Hospital Reports, vol. i. ‘Account of St. George's Hospital,’ by W. E. Page.]

G. T. B.