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ALEXANDER RICHARD ANDERSON


(1855-1933)


President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society,


1891

Alexander Richard Anderson:- 5, East Circus Street, Nottingham. F.R.C.S. England (exam) 1884, M. 1877, L.S.A., 1867 (St. Bartholomew’s) Fellow of the Royal Medical Chirurgical Society; Member of the Pathological Society, London, B.M.A., and the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society. Surgeon (late Resident Surgeon) Nottingham General Hospital.


Medical Directory 1890


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Born at Plymouth, 12th April 1855, eldest son of Colonel Richard Anderson, of the 56th Essex Regiment afterwards of the K.L.I., and his wife Eliza Harriet Outerbridge. He received his medical education at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and as soon as he qualified was appointed resident surgeon on 31st January 1877 at the Nottingham General Hospital. He remained in his post for thirteen years until he was appointed surgeon in 1889. At the time of his death he was senior surgeon to the General Hospital, senior surgeon to the 'Bagthorpe Military Hospital', and an ex-president of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society. He retired from practice in August 1923 and lived thereafter at Boscombe, where he died on 28th July 1933 and was buried in Boscombe cemetery. He is described as an excellent surgeon, a sincere friend, and a bad enemy.


Anderson Married in 1890 Edith (died 1928), daughter of C.E. Tuck of St.Giles, Norwich. His only child was killed in the war of 1914-18.


Publications:

 Actinomycosis of the face and neck cured by operation. Med-chir. Trans, 1892, 75, 103.

 Cases of perforated gastric ulcer treated by operation. Nott's. medico-chir.soc. 1897.

 Some remarks on the radical cure of hernia; 190 cases of operation for the cure of

 oblique inguinal heria. Brit. med. J. 1901 1, 263.

 Twenty-six consecutive cases of gastroenterostomy. Lancet, 1905, 2, 944.


Taken from the Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1930-1951.

By the Late Sir D'Arcy Power, K.B.E., F.R.C.S. and contined by W.R. Le Fanu, M.A.


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The Retirement of Mr. Alexander Richard Anderson


As reported in the Nottingham General Hospital’s Monthly Board’s Minutes.

Dated October, 1923.


It is with great and sincere regret that the Board have to report the resignation of Mr. A. R. Anderson, C.B.E., F.R.C.S., who has held office as an Honorary Surgeon to the Institution for the past 34 years. During that long period Mr. Anderson has carried out the important duties of his office with the highest professional ability and success, and by kind personal interest which he took to his patients, and the confidence which he inspired by his gentle and sympathetic manner, earned the gratitude of many thousands who were placed under his care.


During no part of his exceptional, zealous services was Mr. Anderson more acceptable and appreciated than during the Great War, when he was deservedly much beloved by the soldiers who came under his care, and in constant attention on whom by day and night he devoted himself more assiduously.


It was resolved at this same meeting that ward 5, which was situated in the Jubilee Wing of the Hospital should be known as Anderson Ward


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Medical Committee Meeting

March 12th 1924


It is with unfeigned sorrow that the Medical Staff have to record the resignation of Mr. Anderson. During his long term of service at the General Hospital he has stood for high surgical ideals, and continued advance in skill and efficiency. He has been a sturdy champion of uprightness. He has held affection of all his colleagues who will sorely miss him.  We wish him all happiness.


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In a celebration to the work of Mr. Anderson, at the time of his retirement in 1923 members of the medical profession from both the City and County of Nottingham held a banquet in his honour where a colleague paid this tribute:-


We have on this memorable occasion assembled here together to do honour to the work and personality of Mr. Anderson, as one who has been the pioneer and leader in the surgical branch of our profession for a whole generation and who has ever held high those professional ideals of which we are all justly proud. The ideal of patient before doctor, the welfare of patient before all personal advantage, the ideal of progress in the healing art, ever striving to make good better.


Mr. Anderson is not one of those who has had greatness thrust upon him; he has earned his position of leader by sheer ability and pertinacity. 'Tis true that he has lived through wondrous times, has witnessed a revolution in the art of surgery.  He has seen the black night of sepsis, seen dawn, and the eastern sky flecked with light, seen the sun rise and sepsis disappear before the glorious light of Lister's discoveries, and he, the pioneer, in this our City, has worked by that strong light and given life to multitudes who else were dead, and more, has trained a band of faithful followers to carry on the work.


Coming here to the General Hospital as a resident 23 years ago, in all the young conceit bred in a London Medical School, I soon came to find in Mr. Anderson the equal of any of the surgical gods at whose shrine I was wont to worship in London, and before long came to regard him as the better man. More skillful in operation than one, a cleaner surgeon than another, with more judgment than a third, and taking him all in all a better surgeon than any whom I yet had known. Indeed our Hospital owes to Mr. Anderson a very heavy debt for the work which he has done there during the past 45 years; work characterized not only by his ability but by a remarkable devotion to his patients, to exact care in every detail, not only during the operation but also in the after treatment and in the care of fractures and other accidents.  The same devotion characterized his work during the Great War, a work beyond all telling at a time when he literally lived in the surgical wards of the Hospital in Nottingham.


What of the man? I wonder what your first impressions were, what was the occasion when first you met him? Was he occupied with some great problem in his mind, cogitating upon some case, altogether so absorbed, and seemingly intent upon the structure of your middle waistcoat button, spoke not at all, remained a while and then moved on? Or was he in a gayer mood, full of quaint fun and humourous distortion of our minor follies; or was it in a fighting mood over some Bete Noir, and being in it, holding on until the death;  Maybe, one or other of these moods is your first most clear impression and later all these moods you knew, until they seemed to blend into a sort of a hazy setting to the man of parts, the man of action, the man you want when trouble comes, the surgical emergency, the abdominal crisis, you are in doubt, troubled, anxious, lacking in self-confidence. To operate or not to operate, that is the question! Answer it, you know not how! Here is the instinct born of long experience cradled by patient observation, here the keen intellect setting in its due order and significance, each surgical event, herewith the clear decisive answer, carrying conviction-solving your doubts. If it be no! then have you confidence to carry on. If to operate, it be! The sure touch, no ponderous slowness, but rapid, accurate and full of wise judgment, what to do and what to leave undone.


Thus is it altogether fitting that we should this night pay our homage to Mr. Anderson, as men to a leader of men; as doctors to a leader of our profession; as Idealist to one who has fully upheld the high ideals of our beloved profession; but we would add, each of us, a note of personal gratitude for many an act of kindness, for help in many an anxious case, and there are many here tonight and many unable to be here, who have a still more lively and yet more personal feeling of gratitude, for wife, or child, steered through some surgical storm and brought safe to harbour.- These it is who know best, the great kindness of heart that is within him, and on their behalf I here add special thanks, and on behalf of all the members of our profession in this our City and County, I wish you God's speed, and as much happiness as is permitted to mortal man.


n reply to his colleagues tribute Mr. Anderson said the following:-


From boyhood I had a desire to become a Surgeon. My hospital work has been one of my chief interests in life, and now that it is over, I can say that I have enjoyed every day of it. It is not a difficult matter to perform work in which one is keenly interested but the wrench is harder when it comes to an end and it has been a difficult task to sever my connection with the Hospital and City in which I have practiced so many years. But there is a limit to the Professional life of an operating Surgeon, and I decided to end mine before apparent failure set in, which it must have done before long with the inexorable flight of time.


At the close of any man's career the sweetest recollections are those associated with the thought of having done his duty to the best of his ability, and of having obtained the good opinion of those among whom he has worked.


From

A History of the General Hospital Near Nottingham

By Frank H. Jacob.

Pages 260/1/2


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