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Samuel Henry (Harry) Harris

Born 1881
Died 1936

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Australian urologic surgeon, Born August 22, 1881, Sydney; died December 25, 1936, Lewisham, Sydney.

Biography of Samuel Henry (Harry) Harris

Samuel Henry Harris, always known as Harry, was the son of Sydney-born parents Henry Harris, custom-house agent, and his wife Hannah, née Solomon. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School and at the University of Sydney (M.B., Ch.M., 1906), where he won a blue for cricket. He was resident medical officer at Sydney Hospital in 1906-07.

Starting general practice at Enmore, Harris was early attracted to gynaecology and was appointed to the South Sydney Women's Hospital. In 1914 his thesis Ureteral Catheterisation in Obstetrics gained him his M.D.

He had been much interested in gynaecology, but now began to make a special study of urology. At a meeting of the Australasian medical congress held in Dunedin, New Zealand, in March 1927 he read a paper in which he described a new method of prostatectomy. It was at first condemned in England, but gradually gained favour in Australia, and in 1935 Harris visited Europe determined to demonstrate the advantages of his method. He made many converts, though a writer in The Lancet of 13 February 1937 would not say more than that "the majority of British genito-urinary surgeons are now prepared to admit that although his technique is unlikely ever to be used as a routine, it has gained an important place in prostatic surgery".

Another original piece of work was his fluoroscopic study of neuro-muscular disturbances of the kidneys. He was the author of over 40 papers, many of which appeared in the Medical Journal of Australia, the Lancet, and other overseas journals, and was a member of the editorial committee of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery and of the British Journal of Surgery. He was always glad to communicate his knowledge and demonstrate his methods to other members of his profession, and surgeons from all parts of Australia and New Zealand came to him at Lewisham hospital.

Samuel Harry Harris had a brilliant and original mind, and was one of the few Australian surgeons to gain an international reputation. He died of pneumonia at Sydney on 25 December 1936 leaving a widow and one son.

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