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Biographical entry Masfen, John (1795 - 1854)

MRCS April 3rd 1818; FRCS Dec 11th 1843 one of the original 300 Fellows; LSA 1818; JP.

September 1795
Cannock, Staffordshire
7 June 1854
General surgeon


Born at Cannock, Staffordshire, in September, 1795; was apprenticed to Dr Somerville of Stafford, then studied at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he was dresser under Abernethy, and afterwards studied anatomy in Paris. He joined Somerville in partnership at Stafford, and in 1823 was appointed Surgeon to the Staffordshire General Infirmary, a post he held until his death. He rapidly acquired one of the largest general and surgical practices, and, although he never published anything, kept pace fully with the rapid strides which medical science was making. He abandoned the practice of bleeding except in occasional special cases. During the whole of his infirmary career he was distinguished for that conservative system of surgery which held a damaged limb better than none at all. He had emphatically the faculty of curing, and his offhand remarks in obscure cases were often verified in a remarkable manner.

These ideas of the writer of the obituary notice in 1855 are of interest apart from the individual to whom he was alluding.

At the passing of the Municipal Reform Act he was unanimously chosen by the Town Council as the first Mayor of Stafford. During the closing years of his life he was gradually enfeebled by ill health, and he died at Stafford on June 7th, 1854, leaving a widow and a numerous family.

Sources used to compile this entry: [London and Prov Med Directory, 1855, 656].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England