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Biographical entry Savage, Thomas (1839 - 1907)

MRCS Nov 15th 1860; FRCS June 10th 1869; MD St Andrews 1862; MRCP Lond 1877; FRS Edin; JP and County Councillor, Warwickshire.

11 October 1839
14 January 1907


Born on Oct 11th, 1839, at Wolverhampton, where his ancestors dwelt for many generations. He received his education at Brewood Grammar School and in Paris, and in 1856 began serving his apprenticeship to the profession as assistant to J J Hadley, whose extensive practice lay in the Ashted district of Birmingham. Later he became a house pupil at the General Hospital and attended lectures at Sydenham College.

After qualifying he was for two years House Surgeon at the Birmingham Eye Hospital (1861-1862), and then, after being a short time at Newport, IW, settled in practice at Bordesley, where he soon became favourably known. He was at this period of his life Lecturer on Botany at Sydenham College - then the Medical School - and was appointed Professor of Comparative Medicine at Queen's College.

He and Lawson Tait (qv) were among the first four Surgeons to the Birming¬ham and Midland Hospital for Women, founded in 1871, and for several years the pair performed most of the operations and obtained results of an epoch-making character in abdominal surgery. Latterly he was Senior Surgeon. As an operator Savage was remarkably clean and careful, and many years before scientific asepsis was thoroughly understood and appreciated he was carrying out a surgical tech¬nique in abdominal operations which left little to be desired. He devoted his whole energies to the study and practice of gynecology, and in 1893 was elected Professor of Midwifery in the new University of Birmingham, Lawson Tait at the same time becoming Professor of Gynaecology.

In 1894 Savage was President of the British Gynaecological Society. He had previously (1881) delivered the Ingleby Lectures in Queen's College, and had been President of the Midland Medical Society (1881), the Birmingham University Graduates' Club, and the Birmingham and Midland Counties Branch of the British Medical Association. He was President of the Section of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Birmingham Meeting of the Association in 1890.

He retired from the active work of the Birmingham and Midland Hospital for Women in 1897 and was made Consulting Surgeon. At about the same time he contracted blood poisoning in the course of duty and was obliged to undergo amputation of the arm above the elbow. He bore this affliction courageously and cheerfully.

The manner of his death was unique in the annals of the Fellows. On Dec 29th, 1906, he sailed with his nephew, Mr Lewis O'Connell, and a friend for Jamaica. Their ship, the Port Kingston carried a party of distinguished visitors to that island, and arrived on the eve of the earthquake which occurred at Kingston on Jan 14th, 1907, when some 1000 lives were lost, including those of Savage and his friends. He was survived by his widow, one son, and three daughters. Mrs Savage, whom he married in 1864, was a Miss Gosling, of Richmond, Surrey, sister of Dr Gosling of Birmingham. His surviving son, Dr Smallwood Savage (qv), was already well known as a gynaecologist and Secretary of the British Gynaecological Society. Another son, Arthur Savage, who died, had also been in the medical profession, and both were graduates in Arts, the one (Smallwood) of Oxford, the other of Cambridge.

Savage had resided latterly at The Ards, Knowle, Warwickshire, and here in private life had taken an active interest in Church work, being to within a short time of his tragic death President of the Birmingham Medical Mission. Savage was very popular socially, being genial and broad-minded. He was a man of culture, and collected books and antiquities. He did good work on the Warwick¬shire County Council as a member of the Sanitary and Education Committees.

At the time of his death, besides being Consulting Surgeon to the Wolverhampton and District Hospital for Women, he was Consulting Gynaecologist to the Kidderminster Infirmary, Consulting Physician to the Magdalen Home, Birming¬ham, and Consulting Surgeon to the Birmingham Lying-in Charity, in which institution he had been Acting Surgeon for ten years. He was also Hon Secretary to the Midland Counties Idiot Asylum, Knowle.

Good portraits of Savage accompany his biographies in the British Medical Journal (1907, i, 293) and the Provincial Medical Journal (Leicester, 1894, xiii, 169).

"Flexions of the Nulliparous Uterus."- Obst Jour, 1873, i, 503.
"Uterine Fibroid."- Birmingham Med Rev, 1874, iii, 116.
"Observations on Diseases of Women."- Ibid, 1875, iv, 118.
"Observations on Diseases of Women - Prolapsed Uteri."- Ibid, 1876, v, 108.
"Observations on Diseases of Women - Sterility."- Ibid, 246.
"Incision of Cervix in Uterine Haemorrhage." - Lancet, 1877, ii, 458.
"Transfusion." - Birmingham Med Rev, 1877, vi, 220.
Ovariotomy, 1878.
Local Lesions connected with Childbirth, 1879.
Series of Ovariotomies, 1879.
The Treatment of Uterine Myoma by Abdominal Section, 8vo, Birmingham, 1879.
"Hydronephrosis and Nephrotomy."- Lancet, 1880, i, 601.
Oophorectomy (Records of many consecutive successful operations, 1880-1), 8vo, 2 parts, Birmingham, 1880-1; Birmingham Med Rev, 1881, iv, 147.
On Some of the Applications of Abdominal Section, Ingleby Lectures, 1881.
"Porro's Operation," 8vo, Birmingham, 1883; reprinted from Birmingham Med
, 1883, xiv, 213.
Some Remarks on Abdominal and Renal Surgery. An Address read before the Annual Meeting of the Shropshire and Mid-Wales Branch of the British Medical Association, June 25th, 1889, 8vo, Birmingham, 1889.
"Diseases of the Fallopian Tubes."- Birmingham Med Rev, 1888, xiii, 22.
"Removal of Uterine Appendages."- Brit Med Jour, 1887, i, 51.
"Gynaecology in its Relations to Insanity."- Ibid, 1890, ii, 274.
"Some Aspects of the Present State of Gynaecology."- Birmingham Med Rev, 1891, xxx, 218.
Sectional Presidential Address, Birmingham Meeting of the British Medical Association, 1890.
Hemorrhage from the Uterus: An Address, 8vo, Birmingham, 1898.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England