Biography of George Budd
George Budd was the son of the surgeon Samuel Budd at North Taunton, known for his article on an outbreak of typhoid fever in their native village. The village practitioner had a great family, 9 sons and 1 daughter, and obviously must have influenced his children greatly, as seven of his sons became doctors. Of his six brother-colleagues, William (1811-1880) was the one who achieved the greater prominence, becoming professor in Bristol.
He received private education at his village, then went to Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated as 3rd wrangler in 1831 and became a fellow. He went to Paris and studied medicine and pathology before returning to London to become a student at the Middlesex Hospital. His first position was as a physician at the Dreadnaught Hospital Ship, and it was here he encountered innumerable instances of liver disease in sailors returning home from the tropics which became a basis for his classical work on Diseases of the Liver. He was conferred doctor of medicine in Cambridge in 1840.
In 1840 George Budd resigned to become professor of medicine at King’s College, succeeding Sir Thomas Watson (1792-1882) and he and Dr. Robert Bentley Todd (1809-1860) were appointed physicians to the newly established King’s College Hospital where he described the syndrome in 1845.
During his 23 years of devoted service at the King’s College Hospital he established a reputation as a clear and interesting lecturer and a fine bedside clinical undergraduate and postgraduate teacher. He was always a student’s friend and was given a touching testimonial on his retirement by his students. He resigned his teaching posts in 1863 and devoted himself to private practice. In 1867 he developed glycosuria, gave up practice and went on a tour of Europe, spending the summer in Italy, and returned to the life of a country gentleman, where he enjoyed the hunt and his garden. In 1880 he was elected honorary fellow of the Caius College, Cambridge. He had recurring abdominal pain and diarrhoea, became emaciated and died of pneumonia, at the age of 75 years.
His brother William Budd established the fact that typhoid fever is contagious and that it is carried by contamination from the dejects of persons ill with the disease and is probably water borne. His monograph on typhoid fever which was published in 1873 is a classic in public health literature.