John James Rickard

John Hunter / Medical Pioneers

  • Name  : Hunter
  • Born  : 1728
  • Died  : 1793
  • Category  : Medical Pioneers
  • Finest Moment : Anatomical collection started, c.1761

The brother of William Hunter, the obstetrician, John Hunter was born on 13 February 1728 at Long Calderwood, near East Kilbride. When he was 20 he joined his brother on London, where he assisted in the preparation of dissections for William's courses in Anatomy. Over the course of a decade or more, he studied anatomy and surgery, the latter under Percival Pott. He became a house surgeon at St George's Hospital in 1756.

Experience as an army surgeon in the Seven Years' War from 1761-3 led him to write the first description of gunshot wounds, The Blood, Inflammation and Gunshot Wounds (published posthumously in 1794). At this time he also began his famous anatomical collection, which eventually grew to number over 13,000 specimens. Despite damage during World War II bombing, over 3,500 specimens remained intact, and can be viewed.

He is recognised as the father of comparative anatomy and was an enthusiastic communicator and teacher, founding the Lyceum Medicum Londinense and the Society for the Improvement of Medical Knowledge. He died in London, on 16 October 1793.

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