- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Sir William Heneage Ogilvie

Born  1887
Died  1971

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British physician, born 1887, Valparaiso, Chile; died 1971.

Biography of Sir William Heneage Ogilvie

Sir William Heneage Ogilvie was born to British parents in Valparaiso, Chile, but received his education at Oxford University, England. He spent the larger part of his career at Guy's Hospital, London, where he became known as a very dextrous surgeon, his chief interests being in gastrointestinal surgery and orthopaedics.

Ogilvie served as a surgeon during the Balkan war of 1912-1913 as well as during both World Wars, and thus took a special interest in war surgery. During World War II he was a Consulting Surgeon East Africa Command 1940-1942, 1942-1944 Consulting Surgeon Middle East Land Forces, and 1944-1945 Consulting Surgeon Eastern Command. His experiences from these periods made him recognise the importance of relieving the intestine in colon injuries, a measure he later advocated. In 1942 Ogilvie was appointed major general and in 1946 was knighted for his war efforts.

Ogilvie travelled extensively, and founded The Surgical Travellers Club. With other members of the club he visited leading surgical clinics in Europe. He was also an ardent sailor and president of several societies of sailors.

    A misleading symptom is misleading only to one able to be misled.
    Surgery, Orthodox and Heterodox, Chapter 11.

    The science of experimental medicine is something new and sinister.

    The treatment of colon injuries is based on the known insecurity of suture and the dangers of leakage. Simple closure of a wound of the colon, however small, is unwarranted; men have survived such an operation, but others have died who would still be alive had they fallen into the hands of a surgeon with less optimism and more sense. Injured segments must either be exteriorized, or functionally excluded by a proximal colostomy.
    Forward Surgery in Modern War. 1944

    The surgeon who is his own physician, though he often has a fool for a colleague, has the happiness of working in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and admiration.
    The Lancet, 1948, 2: 1.


  • A treatment of fractures in general practice.
    Bale & Danielson, London, 1932
  • War primer on wound infection, its causes, prevention and treatment.
    The Lancet Ltd, London, 1940.
  • Forward surgery in modern war. Butterworth, London, 1944.
  • Abdominal wounds in the western desert.
    Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Chicago, 1944, 78: 225-238.
  • Surgery, orthodox and heterodox.
    Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 1948
    Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1948. 241 pages.
  • Early recognition of disease. With William Archibald Robson Thomson.
    Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1949.
  • Pain and its problems. With William Archibald Robson Thomson.
    Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1950.
  • Practical procedures. Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1952.
  • Minor surgery. With William Archibald Robson Thomson.
    Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1952.
  • Favourite prescriptions. With William Archibald Robson Thomson.
    The Practitioner, London, 1954.
  • No miracles among friends. Max Parrish, London, 1959. Medical anecdotes.
  • Hernia. Edward Arnold, London, 1959.
  • Fifty: an approach to the problems of middle age.
    Max Parrish, London, 1962.
  • The tired business man. Max Parrish, London, 1962.
  • Stefan Nydahl and Torgny Svenberg:
    Beskrev pseudo-obstruktion av colon.
    Läkartidningen, Stockholm, 1993, 90 (47): 4230-4243.
    In the series: Mannen bakom syndromet [The Man Behind the Syndrome].

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