John Hunter (surgeon)

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John Hunter (surgeon)_table_infobox_0

John HunterJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_0_0
BornJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_1_0 (1728-02-13)13 February 1728

Long Calderwood near East Kilbride, ScotlandJohn Hunter (surgeon)_cell_0_1_1

DiedJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_2_0 16 October 1793(1793-10-16) (aged 65)

London, EnglandJohn Hunter (surgeon)_cell_0_2_1

EducationJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_3_0 St. Bartholomew's HospitalJohn Hunter (surgeon)_cell_0_3_1
Known forJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_4_0 Scientific method in medicine

Many discoveries in surgery and medicineJohn Hunter (surgeon)_cell_0_4_1

ProfessionJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_5_0 SurgeonJohn Hunter (surgeon)_cell_0_5_1
InstitutionsJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_6_0 St George's HospitalJohn Hunter (surgeon)_cell_0_6_1
ResearchJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_7_0 Dentistry, gunshot wounds, venereal diseases, digestion, child development, foetal development, lymphatic systemJohn Hunter (surgeon)_cell_0_7_1
AwardsJohn Hunter (surgeon)_header_cell_0_8_0 Copley Medal (1787)John Hunter (surgeon)_cell_0_8_1

John Hunter FRS (13 February 1728 – 16 October 1793) was a Scottish surgeon, one of the most distinguished scientists and surgeons of his day. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_0

He was an early advocate of careful observation and scientific method in medicine. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_1

He was a teacher of, and collaborator with, Edward Jenner, pioneer of the smallpox vaccine. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_2

He is alleged to have paid for the stolen body of Charles Byrne, and proceeded to study and exhibit it against the deceased's explicit wishes. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_3

His wife, Anne Hunter (née Home), was a poet, some of whose poems were set to music by Joseph Haydn. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_4

He learned anatomy by assisting his elder brother William with dissections in William's anatomy school in Central London, starting in 1748, and quickly became an expert in anatomy. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_5

He spent some years as an Army surgeon, worked with the dentist James Spence conducting tooth transplants, and in 1764 set up his own anatomy school in London. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_6

He built up a collection of living animals whose skeletons and other organs he prepared as anatomical specimens, eventually amassing nearly 14,000 preparations demonstrating the anatomy of humans and other vertebrates, including 3,000+ animals. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_7

Hunter became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1767. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_8

The Hunterian Society of London was named in his honour, and the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons preserves his name and his collection of anatomical specimens. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_9

It still contains the illegally procured body of Charles Byrne, despite ongoing protests. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_10

Early life John Hunter (surgeon)_section_0

Hunter was born at Long Calderwood, the youngest of ten children. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_11

Three of Hunter's siblings (one of whom had also been named John) died of illness before he was born. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_12

An elder brother was William Hunter, the anatomist. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_13

As a youth, John showed little talent, and helped his brother-in-law as a cabinet-maker. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_14

Education and training John Hunter (surgeon)_section_1

When nearly 21 he visited William in London, where his brother had become an admired teacher of anatomy. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_15

John started as his assistant in dissections (1748), and was soon running the practical classes on his own. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_16

It has recently been alleged that Hunter's brother William, and his brother's former tutor William Smellie, were responsible for the deaths of many women whose corpses were used for their studies on pregnancy. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_17

John is alleged to have been connected to these deaths, since at the time he was acting as William's assistant. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_18

However, persons who have studied life in Georgian London agree that the number of gravid women who died in London during the years of Hunter's and Smellie's work was not particularly high for that locality and time; the prevalence of pre-eclampsia — a common condition affecting 10% of all pregnancies, and one which is easily treated today, but for which no treatment was known in Hunter's time — would more than suffice to explain a mortality rate that seems suspiciously high to 21st-century readers. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_19

In The Anatomy of the Gravid Uterus Exhibited in Figures, published in 1774, Hunter provides case histories for at least four of the subjects illustrated. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_20

Hunter heavily researched blood while bloodletting patients with various diseases. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_21

This helped him develop his theory that inflammation was a bodily response to disease, and was not itself pathological. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_22

Hunter studied under William Cheselden at Chelsea Hospital and Percival Pott at St. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_23 Bartholomew's Hospital. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_24

Hunter also studied with Marie Marguerite Bihéron, a famous anatomist and wax modeler teaching in London; some of the illustrations in his text were likely hers. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_25

After qualifying, he became assistant surgeon (house surgeon) at St George's Hospital (1756) and surgeon (1768). John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_26

Hunter was commissioned as an Army surgeon in 1760 and was staff surgeon on expedition to the French island of Belle Île in 1761, then served in 1762 with the British Army. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_27

Post-Army career John Hunter (surgeon)_section_2

Hunter left the Army in 1763, and spent at least five years working in partnership with James Spence, a well-known London dentist. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_28

Hunter set up his own anatomy school in London in 1764 and started in private surgical practice. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_29

Self-experimentation John Hunter (surgeon)_section_3

Hunter was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society in 1767. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_30

At this time he was considered the leading authority on venereal diseases, and believed that gonorrhea and syphilis were caused by a single pathogen. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_31

Living in an age when physicians frequently experimented on themselves, he was the subject of an often-repeated legend claiming that he had inoculated himself with gonorrhea, using a needle that was unknowingly contaminated with syphilis. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_32

When he contracted both syphilis and gonorrhea, he claimed it proved his erroneous theory that they were the same underlying venereal disease. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_33

The experiment, reported in Hunter's A Treatise on the Venereal Diseases (part 6 section 2, 1786), does not indicate self-experimentation; this experiment was most likely performed on a third party. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_34

Hunter championed treatment of gonorrhea and syphilis with mercury and cauterization. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_35

Because of Hunter's reputation, knowledge concerning the true nature of gonorrhea and syphilis was set back, and his theory was not proved to be wrong until 51 years later through research by French physician Philippe Ricord. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_36

Late career John Hunter (surgeon)_section_4

In 1768, Hunter was appointed as surgeon to St George's Hospital. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_37

Later, he became a member of the Company of Surgeons. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_38

In 1776, he was appointed surgeon to King George III. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_39

In 1783, Hunter moved to a large house in Leicester Square. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_40

The space allowed him to arrange his collection of nearly 14,000 preparations of over 500 species of plants and animals into a teaching museum. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_41

The same year, he acquired the skeleton of the 2.31 m (7' 7") Irish giant Charles Byrne against Byrne's clear deathbed wishes—he had asked to be buried at sea. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_42

Hunter bribed a member of the funeral party (possibly for £500) and filled the coffin with rocks at an overnight stop, then subsequently published a scientific description of the anatomy and skeleton. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_43

"He is now, after having being stolen on the way to his funeral," says Muinzer, "on display permanently as a sort of freak exhibit in the memorial museum to the person who screwed him over, effectively." John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_44

The skeleton, today, with much of Hunter's surviving collection, is in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_45

In 1786, he was appointed deputy surgeon to the British Army and in March 1790, he was made surgeon general by the then Prime Minister, William Pitt. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_46

While in this post, he instituted a reform of the system for appointment and promotion of army surgeons based on experience and merit, rather than the patronage-based system that had been in place. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_47

Hunter's death in 1793 was due to a heart attack brought on by an argument at St George's Hospital concerning the admission of students. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_48

He was originally buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields, but in 1859 was reburied in the north aisle of the nave in Westminster Abbey, reflecting his importance to the country. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_49

Hunter's character has been discussed by biographers: John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_50

He was described by one of his assistants late in his life as a man 'warm and impatient, readily provoked, and when irritated, not easily soothed'. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_51

Family John Hunter (surgeon)_section_5

In 1771, he married Anne Home, daughter of Robert Boyne Home and sister of Sir Everard Home. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_52

They had four children, two of whom died before the age of five. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_53

One of his infant children is buried in the churchyard in Kirkheaton, Northumberland, and the gravestone is Grade II listed. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_54

Their fourth child, Agnes, married General Sir James Campbell of Inverneill. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_55

Legacy John Hunter (surgeon)_section_6

In 1799, the government purchased Hunter's collection of papers and specimens, which it presented to the Company of Surgeons. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_56

Contributions to medicine John Hunter (surgeon)_section_7

Hunter helped to improve understanding of human teeth, bone growth and remodeling, inflammation, gunshot wounds, venereal diseases, digestion, the functioning of the lacteals, child development, the separateness of maternal and foetal blood supplies, and the role of the lymphatic system. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_57

He carried out the first recorded artificial insemination in 1790 on a linen draper's wife. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_58

Literary references John Hunter (surgeon)_section_8

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a key figure in Romantic thought, science, and medicine, saw in Hunter's work the seeds of Romantic medicine, namely as regards his principle of life, which he felt had come from the mind of genius. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_59

Hunter was the basis for the character Jack Tearguts in William Blake's unfinished satirical novel, An Island in the Moon, and a principal character in Hilary Mantel's 1998 novel, The Giant, O'Brien. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_60

Hunter is mentioned by Dr Moreau in Chapter XIV of H.G. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_61 Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) and appears in the play Mr Foote's Other Leg (2015) as a friend of the actor Samuel Foote. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_62

In Imogen Robertson's 2009 novel, Instruments of Darkness, anatomist Gabriel Crowther advises an acquaintance to seek refuge at his friend Hunter's home for the young Earl of Sussex's party from deadly pursuers released during the Gordon Riots; leopards in Hunter's menagerie killed the would-be assassins, and he envisaged their bodies' dissection. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_63

His Leicester Square house is said to have been the inspiration for the home of Dr Jekyll of Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_64

Memorials John Hunter (surgeon)_section_9

The John Hunter Clinic of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London is named after him, as are the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, Australia and the Hunterian Neurosurgical Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_65

His birthplace in Long Calderwood, Scotland, has been preserved as Hunter House Museum. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_66

There had been a bust of Hunter in Leicester Square until the 2010–12 redesign of the square. John Hunter (surgeon)_sentence_67


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John Hunter (surgeon).