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Biographical entry Pearse, Thomas Frederick (1856 - 1914)

MRCS April 16th 1878; FRCS June 14th 1888; LSA 1878; LRCP Lond 1878; MRCP 1887; MD Brussels 1878; DPH Cantab 1883.

14 April 1914
General surgeon


Born at Haverstock Hill, the only son of Francis Bryant Pearse (qv). He studied at University College Hospital, London, then from 1874 at the Middlesex Hospital, gaining an entrance scholarship in 1877, the Broderip Scholarship, and many prizes. He was Physician's Assistant and also studied at King's College Hospital. He held various posts: Demonstrator of Anatomy at University College, Surgeon to the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Registrar and Chloroformist at the Temperance Hospital, and Clinical Assistant at the Women's Hospital, Soho Square. Next he practised in various parts of England, and acted as Medical Officer of Health of the Bramshott District of the Petersfield Union whilst practising at Liphook, Hampshire. He was an active Volunteer, having joined the 1st City Rifles in 1877; in 1893, having passed creditably in military topography, he was gazetted Captain in the 1st Hants Engineers (Militia), which he had joined as Lieutenant in 1885.

At the age of 40, in 1896 he went out to Calcutta as a special Health Officer for Plague. His work and writings led on to his appointment in 1908 as Medical Officer of Health for Calcutta, and before his retirement owing to ill health in 1913, the death-rate had been reduced by 6 points per 1000. The Corporation of the City of Calcutta presented him and his wife with a testimonial and silver service. In addition he was Lecturer in Hygiene at the Calcutta Medical School, an Examiner in Public Health at the University, and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Sanitary Institute. In 1902 he received on vellum the thanks of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, in 1907 was enrolled as an honorary Associate, and in 1911 an honorary Surgeon of the St John Ambulance Brigade in Calcutta. After the royal visit he received the Durbar Medal. He was a Past-Master of a Lodge of Bengal Freemasons in Calcutta, and for three years he was President of the Photographic Society. He was also a keen chess-player.

He was a brilliant man of varied attainments, a fluent speaker, a gifted lecturer, facile in dialogue and debate, well set up physically, charming in manner. He invented a pocket emergency case: an instrument for suprapubic puncture of the bladder; hinge and axis-traction midwifery forceps; a companion urinary case; empyema tubes; pessary; diphtheria membrane aspirator; trachea inhaler; hypodermic syringe; and a microscopist's companion.

In the Mediterranean his ship, City of Paris, fired her cargo, which added to his ill health, and after a long and painful illness he died at Torquay on April 14th, 1914. His remains were cremated at Golder's Green.

"The Science of Consciousness."
"Infant Feeding."
"Management of Infants and Young Children."
"Mosquitoes and Malaria."
"Spreading Quinsy and Diphtheria."
"Insects and Disease."
"Treatment of Pneumonia." - Lancet, 1879, ii, 367.
Modern Dress and Clothing, 1882.
"Period of Incubation and Duration of the Principal Zymotic Diseases." - Brit Med Jour, 1886, ii, 968.
Report on Plague in Calcutta, 1904-6.
Incidence of Phthisis in Calcutta, 1905.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1914, I, 1426. Brit Med Jour, 1914, I, 997].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England