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Biographical entry Pollock, George David (1817 - 1897)

MRCS July 3rd 1840; FRCS April 16th 1846.

14 February 1897
General surgeon and Ophthalmic surgeon


Born in India, the second son of Field-Marshal Sir George Pollock, Bart, GCB, GCSI, who in turn was the youngest son of David Pollock, of Charing Cross, saddler to George III, and had married in 1810 his first wife, Frances Webbe, daughter of T Barclay, Sheriff of Tain. George David Pollock's two uncles were respectively Sir Frederick Pollock, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and Sir David Pollock, President of the High Court in India.

Pollock was brought to England in childhood and sent to the Rev Mr Turis, Wrestlingworth, Bedfordshire, and was subsequently apprenticed to a country practitioner. Next he entered St George's Hospital and became House Surgeon to Sir Benjamin Brodie. Brodie's influence obtained for him in 1843 the post of Resident Physician to Lord Metcalfe, Governor-General of Canada. Metcalfe-suffered from rodent ulcer of the cheek which destroyed an eye, and he returned home in December, 1845, to die on Sept 5th, 1846. Pollock, who had accompanied him, was elected in 1846 Assistant Surgeon to St George's Hospital, and served for thirty-four years until his retirement from the post in 1880.

When Tatum gave up the care of ophthalmic cases Pollock succeeded him. He was Demonstrator of Anatomy under Prescott Hewett (qv), and succeeded him as Lecturer on Anatomy. His name is not connected with any improvement in the art of surgery, but his operations of excision of the scapula for tumour, and for vesicovaginal fistula are worthy of mention. On the founding of the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street, Pollock was appointed Surgeon, and he w as especially interested there in cleft-palate operations. In connection with the Ophthalmic Department at St George's Hospital he operated for cataract with dexterity, and it gained for him a certain amount of reputation and private practice in eye diseases.

He was Examiner in Surgery to the Indian Medical Service. He was a popular member of the teaching staff, to whom students went in sickness. He was singularly painstaking, trustworthy, and an open-minded administrator both in the Medical School and at the Hospital. Along with his friend, Campbell de Morgan (qv), and as President of the Association of Fellows, he headed a reform party at the Royal College of Surgeons. His curious objection to stand for election to the Council was that it was unnecessary and invidious to require a man in high position to be backed as a candidate by the signatures of Fellows. In the last year of his life he was, however, induced to stand for the Council as President of the Association of Fellows in 1896, when he was beaten by J N C Davies-Colley (qv). He was President of the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society in 1886, and of the Pathological Society in 1875, and also Surgeon in Ordinary to the Prince of Wales.

He practised at 36 Grosvenor Street until the last year of his life, when he moved to 35 Chester Square. He also farmed a small estate near Ascot, where he spent his spare time, and he travelled a great deal. He married in 1850 Marianne, daughter of Robert Saunders, by whom he had five children, three surviving him. He died after a short illness of pneumonia on Feb 14th, 1897.

"Injuries of the Abdomen", "Diseases of the Mouth, Pharynx and Oesophagus", and "Diseases of the Intestines" in Holmes and Hulke's System of Surgery, 3rd ed, 1883.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1897, i, 560. Brit Med Jour, 1897, i, 496].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England