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 John Hunter

John Hunter

Birth
Scotland
Death 16 Oct 1793 (aged 65)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Plot The North aisle of the Nave, near to the grave of Ben Jonson
Memorial ID 9563 · View Source
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Surgeon, Anatomist. He is probably best known for his scientific method in the field of medicine. He was born at Long Calderwood, which is now part of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, Scotland, the youngest of ten children. Growing up, he assisted his brother-in-law as a cabinet maker. When he was 20 years old, he visited his older brother, William Hunter, who was an anatomy teacher in London, England. He became interested in his brother's line of work and began assisting him in dissections and soon began running the practical classes on his own. After further studying anatomy at Chelsea and Saint Bartholomew's Hospitals in London, he became Assistant Surgeon at Saint George's Hospital, London, in 1756. In 1760 he was commissioned as a British Army surgeon, serving as the staff surgeon on expedition to the French island of Belle Ile, and on the expedition to Portugal in 1762. He left the Army in 1763 and worked as a partner for the next five years with James Spence, a well-known London dentist. In 1764 he established his own anatomy school in London as well as a private surgical practice. In 1767 he was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society and was considered at that time the authority on venereal diseases. A year later he was appointed as surgeon to Saint George's Hospital and in 1776 he became surgeon to King George III. In 1783 he obtained (through bribery) the body of the 7 feet 7 inch Irish giant Charles Byrne and boiled off the tissue to study the skeleton for scientific research, which is now on display at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal college of Surgeons in London. In 1786 he was appointed deputy surgeon to the British Army and was made Surgeon General in 1790, serving until his death. While in this position he revamped the system for appointment and promotion of army surgeons that was based on experience and merit, instead of the patronage-based system that had previously been in place. He died as a result of a heart attack at Saint George's Hospital during an argument over student admissions. Among his numerous contributions to medical science are the study of human teeth, extensive study of inflammation, revised treatment of gunshot wounds, study of venereal diseases and the digestive system, the first completed study of the development of a child, proving that maternal and fetal blood supplies are separate, and the role of the lymphatic system. A memorial bust of John Hunter is located outside the main entrance to Saint George's Hospital in Tooting, South London, and another memorial bust of him is located in Leicester Square in London's West End. His birthplace in Scotland is preserved as the Hunter House Museum.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 29 May 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9563
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Hunter (13 Feb 1728–16 Oct 1793), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9563, citing Westminster Abbey, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .