Sir Dominic John Corrigan

Born 1802
Died 1880

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Irish physician, born December 1, 1802, Dublin; died February 1, 1880, Dublin.

Biography of Sir Dominic John Corrigan

Sir Dominic John Corrigan was the son of a poor shopkeeper who dealt in hardware and fire implement. He was educated at the Catholic College in Maynooth, which then had a department for secular students apart from the ecclesiastical seminary. He was influenced to study medicine by O'Kelly, a general practitioner who was the college's physician in attendance. He received his first medical education in Dublin and then went to Edinburgh, where he received his doctorate in 1825, the same year as William Stokes (1804.1878).

Corrigan returned to Dublin to open his own practice and subsequently became lecturer of medicine at the school of Diggs Street, Peter Street and Richmond Hospital. He was appointed physician to the Cork Street Fever Hospital, where he commenced his clinical-pathological work. In 1830 he became attached to "the Charitable Infirmary", Jervis Street Hospital, in Dublin. Despite the fact that he disposed of only six beds, he there conducted a series of pioneering experiments which have become famous on the symptomatology of heart disease. From 1840 to 1866 he was physician to the hospitals of the House of Industry.

In 1840 Corrigan became physician to Whitworth and Hardwicke Hospitals, thus acquiring a new working field for his clinical investigations. He was now a prosperous physician with a great reputation, and in 1849 he gained an honorary M.D. degree from Trinity College. He was known as a very hard-working physician, and his self-sacrificing devotion during the famine fever years made him famous.

When the Queen’s University was founded in 1850 he became a member of its senate. He became its vice chancellor in 1871, and from 1859 was its representative in the Medical Council. In 1856 he was elected member of the Irish College of Physicians (or: King and Queen’s College of Physicians in Ireland?). From 1859 he was five times elected its president, an unprecedented honour. During Corrigan’s presidency, the Irish College of Physicians became the first body in the British Isles to admit women to the licence examination. For a period he was also president of the Pathological Society of which he had been co-founder in 1838, and in 1875 became the first president of the Pharmaceutical society.

Corrigan was created a baronet in 1866 and from 1870 to 1874 was a Member of Parliament for the city of Dublin. He was defeated for re-election in 1874 by the liquor interest which he had antagonized by supporting the Sunday Closing Bill. Corrigan was responsible for the improvement of Dublin’s water supply.

    «The trouble with doctors is not that they don’t know enough, but that they don’t see enough.»

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