Richard Holmes Coote
Biography of Richard Holmes Coote
Already at the age of 16 Richard Holmes Coote became an apprentice of William Lawrence (1783-1867). He went through the various stages at the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, made a scientific journey to Vienna and Paris, and in 1845 won a three-yearly prize from the College of Surgeons on the fibres of the human and animal brain. Subsequently he made further investigations on the anatomy of the central nervous system and the homologies of the human skeleton. He became prosector at the school of Bartholomew’s Hospital, remaining in that position until 1852, when he was appointed assistant surgeon.
During the Crimea War Coote was active in the hospitals at Smyrna and Renkioi. Here he became afflicted with the disease that was later slowly to cause his death. In 1863 he became surgeon and, in 1871, following the retirement of Sir James Paget, became the elder of the surgeons. He was also employed at the Hospital for Treatment of Deformities, publishing some practical lectures on the latter topic. Later, in association with William Lawrence (1783-1867), and 1865 with Sir James Paget, gave lectures on surgery. This, however, he had to give up due to ailing health. He died of general paralysis in 1872.
To Coote the Crimean War was a turning point, as his later work was of relatively less importance. Focusing his interest on the practical side of his profession, Coote’s scientific work did not contribute much new. Some of his works concern the diseases of the tongue and the thyroid.