- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Thomas Blizard Curling

Born 1811
Died 1888

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English physician and surgeon, born January 1, 1811, Tavistock Place, London; died March 4, 1888, Cannes, France.

Biography of Thomas Blizard Curling

Thomas Blizard Curling grew up on Manor House, Chiswick. His father was secretary to the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Customs, a post of considerable dignity and emolument. In 1833, when he had just become a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Curling was appointed assistant surgeon to the London Hospital due to the influence of his uncle, Sir William Blizard (1743-1835). This was deeply resented by his colleagues, as was his own rather aloof and cool manner.

Curling became a lecturer of surgery in 1846 and from 1849 was full surgeon. He was a member of the council of The Royal College of Surgeons from 1864 and was appointed president in 1873.

In 1843 he won the Jacksonian prize for his investigations on tetanus. He became famous for his skill in treating diseases of the testes and rectum, on which his published works went through many editions. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society from 1850.

He resigned his position as surgeon at the London Hospital in 1869, after almost 36 years of service, and in 1879 retired from practice entirely.

Curling was described as not being brilliant as an operator or as a teacher, but always painstaking and accurate. He was a very strict disciplinarian and a «terror» to the slovenly and slipshod dresser.

Towards the end of his life he was said to be extremely pale and many people felt he was suffering from pernicious anaemia. He retired to Brighton and whilst on holidays in Cannes in the south of France he developed pneumonia and died.

He was stated in one obituary to be a «man of commanding stature and though endowed with the faculty of being all things to all men, was a staunch and sincere friend whom to know was to trust and honour.»

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