- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Samuel Jones Gee

Born  1839
Died  1911

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English paediatrician, born September 13, 1839, London; died August 3, 1911, Keswick.

Biography of Samuel Jones Gee

Samuel Jones Gee entered University College Hospital as a medical student in 1857 and graduated M.D. University of London in 1861. He served as a house surgeon at the University College Hospital and subsequently at Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1865, the year he obtained his doctorate, and a fellow in 1870. In 1871 he gave the Goulstonian Lectures, his lecture title being Heat of the Body. In 1866 he was an assistant physician at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. This was one of the rare occasions where St. Bartholomew’s had appointed someone from outside their own hospital.

Initially Gee was in charge of the skin department, but in 1870 he became demonstrator in morbid anatomy and from 1872-1878 he was lecturer in pathological anatomy. He became a physician at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1878 and from that year until 1893 he lectured in medicine. In 1901 he was appointed physician to the Prince of Wales and he retired in 1904 as consulting physician.

Gee’s family was not well to do, and he had no influential relatives to help him, but he rapidly made his mark and by 25 he had already contributed articles to one of the leading textbooks, Reynolds Systems of Medicine. A few years following his election as assistant physician to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital he published Auscultation and Percussion . . . which rapidly became extremely popular.

Although shy and somewhat withdrawn he was an excellent teacher who would frequently drive home a point with an aphorism and these sayings became very well known amongst the student population, together with attempts at imitating a mannerism of speech which he had. It is not surprising that his other book entitled Medical lectures and aphorisms was also popular and reached a third edition in 1907. He died suddenly from a coronary occlusion, and at the autopsy, which he had requested, was shown to have extensive atheromatous changes in the aorta and its valves.

«A comprehensive dogmatic system . . . requires the science systematized to be at a standstill, not to say dead. Knowledge is a ferment, expanding on all sides so much and so rapidly as during the past hundred years, [and] must speedily burst the old bottle of any dogmatic system.»
Medical Lectures. Chapter 14.


  • Besides contributions to Sir John Russel Reynolds' System of Medicine, Gee wrote: Auscultation and Percussion together with Other Methods of Physical Examination of the Chest.
    London, 1870; 6th edition, 1906. Medical lectures and aphorisms.
    London, 1902; 3rd edition, 1907.

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