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Biographical entry McGill, Arthur Fergusson (1846 - 1890)

MRCS Nov 18th 1868; FRCS Dec 10th 1874; LSA 1869.

Cartmel, Lancashire
21 November 1890
General surgeon


Born at Cartmel, Lancashire, the youngest son of William McGill, MD; was educated, as were three of his brothers, at Tonbridge School. He entered King's College Hospital with a Warneford Entrance Scholarship in October, 1864, where he was House Surgeon to his godfather, Sir William Fergusson. After qualifying he was appointed Resident Medical Officer to the Leeds Infirmary, at which post he so distinguished himself that on his resigning to go into general practice in 1869 the Board of Management presented him with an honorarium of £50.

In 1874 he was appointed to the Leeds Dispensary and also Demonstrator of Anatomy in the Leeds School of Medicine. At the Dispensary, having become FRCS, he undertook a series of important surgical operations in the poor houses of a manufacturing district; amputation of the upper extremity, ligature of the first part of the left subclavian artery, hysterectomy, and other operations by which he gained experience and founded his reputation as a surgeon. Following on the post of Demonstrator of Anatomy, he taught pathology, anatomy, and finally surgery until the time of his death. He was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the Infirmary in 1882, and in 1884 became Surgeon on the retirement of Messrs Wheelhouse and Teale.

McGill is best known as the surgeon who established the operation of prostatectomy for prostatic enlargement by the suprapubic operation in which he had been preceded by Bellfield of Chicago (Med Record, NY, 1888, xxxiii, 272).

From 1886 he had suffered from diabetes complicated by carbuncles, and he died on Nov 21st, 1890, at 2 Park Square, Leeds. On Nov 28th the weekly Board of the Infirmary passed a resolution referring to McGill's eminence as a surgeon, to his personal charm, and the courage with which he had continued to work at the Infirmary.

"On Suprapubic Prostatectomy with Three Cases." - Clin Soc Trans, 1887-8, xxi, 52; 1888-9, xxii, 420.
"Hypertrophy of Prostate and its Relief by Operation." - Lancet, 1888, i, 215.
"The Treatment of Retention of Urine from Prostatic Enlargement." - Illus Med News, 1889, iv, 280.
"Suprapubische Prostatektomie." - Centratb f Physiol u Pathol d Ham u Sex Org, 1889-90, i, 247.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit Med Jour, 1890, ii, 1404].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England