- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Roy Glenwood Spurling

Born  1894
Died  1968

Related eponyms

American neurosurgeon, born September 6, 1894, Centralia, Missouri; died February 7, 1968, La Jolla, California.

Biography of Roy Glenwood Spurling

Roy Glenwood Spurling received degrees from The University of Missouri in Columbia and graduated with honours from Harvard Medical School in 1923. Following graduation he served for two years as surgical house officer at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital on the Harvard Medical School campus. Here, his experience with Harvey Williams Cushing (1869-1939), professor at Harvard and Surgeon-in-Chief at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital influenced him to direct his high intellect and boundless energy to neurosurgery.

In 1925 he became the neurosurgical consultant at the Louisville General Hospital while still a resident surgeon, and his practice became heavily weighted toward surgery of the brain and spine. On July 1, 1926, he founded a neurosurgery service at the affiliated medical school and remained in charge at the University of Louisville till his retirement in 1960.

In 1931 Spurling took the initiative to form the organization that became the Harvey Cushing Society, now the American Association of Neurological Surgery. He was also one of the founders of the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

During World War II, working at the Walter Reed General Hospital, Spurling became the hospital's first Chief of Neurosurgery and organized neurosurgery for the entire Army. When he was posted in London in March, 1944, he became responsible for all neurosurgical services in the European theatre. On his way home to Louisville in December 1945, in response to a request from Mrs. Patton, he was summoned back to Europe to attend to General George Patton, Jr., following the auto accident that was to take his life.

Spurling was described as an avid researcher and tireless practitioner.


  • R. G. Spurling:
    Winchell McKendree Craig, 1892-1960.
    Journal of Neurosurgery, Charlottesville, 1960, 7:5633.
  • C. B. Shields:
    Glen Spurling; founder of neurosurgery in Louisville.
    Louisville Medicine, 1998, 45(9):445-447.
  • C. B. Shields, L. B. Shields:
    R. Glen Spurling: surgeon, author, and neurosurgical visionary.
    Journal of Neurosurgery, Charlottesville, June 2002, 96(6): 1147-1153.
  • E. G. Grantham, F. H. Mayfield:
    Dr. Roy Glenwood Spurling, 1894-1968.
    Journal of Neurosurgery, Charlottesville, 1968, 28: 610.

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