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Biographical entry Moore, Charles Hewitt (1821 - 1870)

MRCS Aug 1st 1842; FRCS Aug 10th 1848.

12 June 1821
6 June 1870
General surgeon


Born at Plymouth on June 12th, 1821, of a well-known family of shipbuilders and naval architects, the second son of William Moore, who had married a Miss Foster, also of Plymouth. He was educated at Plymouth New Grammar School, and at the age of 16, by the advice of his uncle, Dr Joseph Moore, was placed as house pupil under Frederic Carpenter Skey (qv), Assistant Surgeon to St Bartholomew's Hospital; later Moore, after qualifying, assisted Skey in his courses of anatomy at the Aldersgate School of Medicine. He also acted as Clinical Clerk to Sir George Burrows, and in October, 1844, became House Surgeon to John Painter Vincent (qv). Moore attributed to Skey and Burrows the development in him of qualities of precision of thought and accuracy of observation. Burrows said of Moore that he was one of his best clinical clerks, thoughtful, painstaking, and conscientious. Moore formed lifelong friendships with Thomas Warburton Benfield and with James D Rendle.

Moore then studied for three years in Vienna and Berlin. Following on this he was appointed in 1847 Demonstrator, and in 1848 Lecturer, on Anatomy at Middlesex Hospital, a post he held for twenty years, until 1867. De Morgan (qv) having been promoted Surgeon, Moore was elected Assistant Surgeon to the Middlesex Hospital in 1848, and the same year, Moncrieff Arnott having become Professor of Surgery at University College, Moore became Junior Surgeon at Middlesex Hospital at the age of 26. It was not, however, until 1869 that he was joined with De Morgan as Lecturer on Systematic Surgery. He had just finished his first three months' course of lectures when he was attacked by apoplexy, and after a prolonged illness died on June 6th, 1870. The existence of a cerebral haemorrhage was confirmed at a post-mortem examination. He had been a widower for some years and left two children.

Moore appeared to his contemporaries a combination of extreme caution with, on occasion, enterprising rashness. He was for many years in charge of the Special Cancer Wards at the Middlesex Hospital. Moore's Observations on Cancer stand in the history of the pathology of cancer among the chief clinical descriptions immediately preceding the use of the microscope in that study. In particular he described more clearly the local cancer of the skin, especially of the face, which came to be distinguished in this country as rodent ulcer, also the antecedents of cancer and the influence of inadequate operations.

The special instance of Moore's ingenuity combined with boldness was the case undertaken with Charles Murchison in which, oblivious of germs, iron wire was inserted into an aneurysm of the ascending aorta. The Moore-Corradi method of wiring aneurysms perpetuates his name.

"On a New Method of Procuring the Consolidation of Fibrin in Certain Incurable Aneurisms." - Trans Med-Chir Soc, 1864, xlvii, 129.
The Antecedents of Cancer, 12mo, London, 1865.
Rodent Ulcer, 12mo, London, 1867.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1870, i, 860. Brit Med Jour, 1870, i, 641].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England