Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dease, William

DEASE, WILLIAM (1752?–1798), surgeon, was born about 1752 at Lisney, co. Cavan, of a good but impoverished family. He was sent to Dr. Clancy's school in Dublin, and afterwards studied medicine in that city and in Paris. He set up in practice in Dublin, and quickly gained repute as a surgeon, holding good hospital appointments. He took an active part in procuring a charter of incorporation for the Dublin surgeons, and became the first professor of surgery in the new college in 1785, and president of the college in 1789. He had a good practice, and was much esteemed for his virtues. He married Eliza, daughter of Sir Richard Dowdall. His death was in June 1798, under circumstances which no coroner's inquest would seem to have cleared up. According to one account he had made the mistake of opening an aneurism in a patient with a fatal result, taking it for an abscess, and was so overcome by the misadventure that he went to his study and opened his own femoral artery; according to another account, he died from an accidental wound of the femoral artery; and by a third account, from the rupture of an aneurism. In 1812 the Irish College of Surgeons procured his bust and placed it in the inner hall; in 1886 a statue of him, presented by his grandson, was placed in the principal hall of the college.

His writings are: 1. ‘Observations on Wounds of the Head,’ Dublin, 1776 (much enlarged, 1778). 2. ‘Different Methods of treating the Venereal Diseases,’ Dublin, 1779. 3. ‘Radical Cure of Hydrocele, and on Cutting for the Stone,’ Dublin, 1782. 4. ‘Observations on Midwifery,’ Dublin, 1783.

[Cameron's History of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, 1886; memoir prefixed to Dease's Radical Cure, &c., London, 1798.]

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