- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Henry Hancock

Born  1809
Died  1880

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English surgeon, born August 6, 1809, London; died January 1, 1880, Chute, Wiltshire.

Biography of Henry Hancock

Henry Hancock first learned pharmacy. From 1830 he visited the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital, later also George James Guthrie's (1785-1856) lectures on surgery, the other lectures at King's College, and the clinics in Westminster Hospital. In 1832 he became House-Surgeon in the eye hospital and, in 1834, lecturer and prosector of anatomy at the Westminster medical school, where Robert Bentley Todd (1809-1860) taught physiology and Guthrie surgery.

In 1837, at the request of John Howship (1781-1841), he took over the lectures of anatomy and physiology at the new medical school about to be established in association with the Charing Cross Hospital. In 1839 he was elected Assistant-Surgeon at the Charing Cross Hospital. In 1840 he also took over the surgical lessons of Howship, who had fallen ill. When Howship died the following summer, Hancock assumed his position.

In 1846, Hancock became president of the Westminster Medical Society, in 1848 of the London Medical Society, and in 1851 became the Lettsomian Professor of Surgery at the London Medical Society. He resigned from teaching in 1868 and gave up his position as surgeon in 1873, becoming consulting surgeon to the hospital. For many years he was also surgeon to the Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital, where he trained the apprentices from Charing Cross in ophthalmology.

In 1863 Hancock became a member of the Council of the College of Surgeons where he, in 1865, as "Arris and Gale" professor, gave the lecture on the human foot. An improved version of this was published in London in 1873. He died on his country estate Standen House, Chute, Wiltshire.


  • A short account of a case of disease of the appendix caeci cured by operation, with suggestions as to the propriety of adopting a similar method of proceeding in certain cases of peritonitis.
    The London Medical Gazette, 1948, 7: 547-550.
    The first recorded successful operation for peritonitis due to abscess in the appendix.
  • On the operation for strangulated hernia. 1850.
  • On the anatomy and physiology of the male urethra, and on pathology of strictures of that canal. 1852.
  • On the operative surgery of the foot and ankle-joint. London, 1873.
  • Hip-joint and Arteria innominata. In: Robert Bentley Todd: The cyclopaedia of anatomy and physiology. 5 vols. London, 1836–1859. Other contributors to this massive work were Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892), Richard Quain (1816-1898), Thomas Bell, Gilbert Breschet (1784-1845), and Sir James Paget (1814-1845).

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