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Biographical entry Murphy, James Keogh (1869 - 1916)

MRCS May 10th 1894; FRCS June 20th 1901; LRCP Lond May 10th 1894; BA Cantab 1891; MB BCh 1896; MD 1899; MA 1904.

13 September 1916
General surgeon


The eldest son of the Rt Hon Mr Justice James Murphy, and grandson of the Rt Hon Mr Justice Keogh. He was educated at Charterhouse, where he was a senior scholar, and at Caius College, Cambridge, graduating with 1st Class Honours in the Natural Science Tripos, 1891. He then acted as Demonstrator of Anatomy, afterwards going on to St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he gained the Lawrence Scholarship and Gold Medal; he acted as House Physician, Clinical Assistant in the Throat Department, and as Demonstrator of Anatomy. He held other posts - External Maternity Assistant, Rotunda, Dublin; Clinical Assistant, St Peter's Hospital for Stone; Clinical Assistant, Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital.

After becoming FRCS he was appointed Surgeon to the Miller Hospital, Assistant Surgeon to the Paddington Green Hospital for Children, and Surgeon in the Naval Volunteer Reserve, Sept 25th, 1906. He practised at 91 Weymouth Street, and lived at 16 Pembridge Crescent, Notting Hill Gate, London, W. At the same time he undertook much literary work, in particular as General Editor to the Oxford Medical Press. With Sir D'Arcy Power he edited: A System of Syphilis in six volumes, with an introduction by Sir Jonathan Hutchinson, and contributions by Professor Elie Metchnikoff, Dr G F Still, Colonel Lambkin, Dr W Langdon Brown, and Professor F W Andrewes (London, 1908); also The Practitioner's Encyclopaedia of Medicine and Surgery in all its Branches (1912 ; 2nd ed, 1913); The Practitioner's Encyclopaedia of Medical Treatment, with an introduction by Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt, KCB, and specialist contributors (1915).

'Pat Murphy' at Cambridge was one of the cheeriest and most popular of men, gifted with genuine eloquence, sympathy with others, a ready wit, and droll humour. At St Bartholomew's he was President of the Abernethian Society. An enthusiastic Freemason, he was a founder of the Carthusian Lodge, No 2885, and attained the rank of PGD in the United Grand Lodge of England.

At the commencement of the European War, in August, 1914, being already in the RNR, he joined the Hospital Ship Sudan in the North Sea, in which he planned the operating theatres and brought his own instruments; later on he served at Gallipoli. He was transferred afterwards to the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth, where he gained the esteem of his colleagues as a man of almost encyclopaedic knowledge, a physician also who conformed to the saying that "a surgeon is a physician and something more". As a surgeon he was a ambidextrous, and was able to undertake surgery in those departments which in civil hospitals are the domain of the specialist.

He died somewhat suddenly at Plymouth on Sept 13th, 1916. The hospital staff and patients attended the funeral service in the hospital chapel, and he was buried in the Plymouth Cemetery, the pall-bearers being six Royal Naval Reserve officers. His name is on the College Roll of Honour. He left a widow and one child - a son.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit Med Jour, 1916, ii, 434, 479].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England