Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Callender, George William

CALLENDER, GEORGE WILLIAM (1830–1878), surgeon, was born at Clifton, and, after education at a Bristol school, became a student of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1849, in 1852 a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and F.R.C.S. in 1855. He was house-surgeon at St. Bartholomew's, was in 1861 elected assistant surgeon, and in 1871 surgeon to the hospital. At the same time he was a laborious teacher in the medical school, was registrar (1854), demonstrator of anatomy, lecturer on comparative anatomy and on anatomy (1865), and finally (1873) lecturer on surgery. For many years he was treasurer of the medical school, and exercised great influence in all its affairs. He published a paper on the ‘Development of the Bones of the Face in Man’ in the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ for 1869, which led to his election as F.R.S. in 1871, and in the Proceedings of the Royal Society there are abstracts of papers by him on the anatomy of the thyroid body and on the formation of the sub-axial arches of man. He published many papers in the ‘Medico-Chirurgical Transactions,’ in the ‘Transactions’ of the Clinical Society and of the Pathological Society, in the ‘St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports,’ in Holmes's ‘System of Surgery,’ and in the medical journals, besides, in 1863, a small book on the anatomy of the parts concerned in femoral rupture, and in 1864 an address delivered to the students at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. A great master of surgery and of panegyric who knew him throughout his career thus sums up Callender's work: ‘In the future history of surgery Callender will have a large share of the honour which will be awarded to those who, in the last twenty years, by greatly diminishing the mortality of operations, have made by far the most important improvement in practical surgery’ (St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, vol. xv.) Callender lived in Queen Anne Street, married, and had several children. A few years would probably have made his practice a great one, for he had reached the stage of being known to his profession, and was beginning to be known to the public. He died on 20 Oct. 1878 of Bright's disease, against which he had long struggled. His death took place at sea on his way back from America. He had gone thither for a holiday, and his illness had suddenly become aggravated while travelling. The extraordinary kindness with which, as a distinguished English surgeon, he was treated when taken ill in the United States deserves to be remembered to the honour of the medical profession in that country. He was buried at Kensal Green.

[Sir James Paget, memoir in St. Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, vol. xv. (MS. minutes of Medical Council of St. Bartholomew's Hospital); personal knowledge.]

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