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Biographical entry Maxwell, Richard Drummond (1873 - 1916)

MRCS July 29th 1897; FRCS Dec 12th 1907; LRCP Lond July 29th 1897; MB Lond 1897; MD (honours in obstetrics and gynaecology) 1904.

16 March 1873
6 March 1916
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Born in Edinburgh on March 16th, 1873, of a family originally from Dumfriesshire and the district of Sanquhar and Wanlockhead. After attending the City of London School and University College, he entered the London Hospital in 1892, where he was a sprinter and Rugby football player. He held the appointments of House Physician, House Surgeon, and Receiving Room Officer. In the South African War he served with the Field Force as a Civil Surgeon, and in 1903 he became Resident Medical Officer at Queen Charlotte's Hospital. From that time onwards he devoted himself to obstetrics and gynaecology, attending particularly gynaecological operations at the London Hospital until appointed Obstetric Registrar and Tutor in 1907. In 1908 he was elected Physician to Out-patients with additional charge of beds at the Samaritan Hospital. Subsequently he was elected Physician to Queen Charlotte's Hospital. In 1912, on the retirement of A H N Lewers, he became Assistant Obstetric Physician and Lecturer on Midwifery to Nurses at the London Hospital. He was an able and popular lecturer who knew well the value of a good story or quaint allusion, and was both skilful and successful as an operator. Owing to the illness of his senior, Dr Henry Russell Andrews, he was prevented from joining the Expeditionary Force in 1914, and had charge during 1915 of all the obstetrical and gynaecological beds at the London Hospital. At the same time he continued in command of the London Hospital Section of the London University Officers' Training Corps, of which he had long been an active member, and spent a fortnight in camp during July, 1915.

Some three and a half years before he had suffered from a duodenal ulcer for which gastrojejunostomy was performed, the appendix being removed at the same time. He was seized with an acute intestinal obstruction, found to be due to a band which had formed between the former site of the appendix and a point in the pelvis. He died twenty-four hours later, on March 6th, 1916, and after a representative military funeral the body was cremated at Golder's Green.

Maxwell largely contributed to Dr G E HERMAN'S 4th edition of Diseases of Women.
He wrote a number of the articles on "Obstetrical Complications" in the Encyclopaedia of Treatment, and in the Proc Roy Soc Med, 1908-12. As preventive of 'obstetric tragedies' he advocated the State endowment of Labour Wards.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1916, I, 648. Brit Med Jour, 1916, I, 398, 434].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England