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Biographical entry Taaffe, Richard Patrick Burke (1829 - 1888)

MRCS Aug 4th 1852; FRCS May 23rd 1857; LSA 1853; MB Lond 1863; MS 1864; MD 1865.

3 March 1888
General surgeon and Ophthalmic surgeon


Born in the West of Ireland; Sligo had been the home of several distinguished Taaffes. In early life he came to England and was educated at St Bartholomew's Hospital.

In 1856 he settled in practice at Brighton as partner of Sir John Cordy Burrows, afterwards practising alone. He was appointed in 1858 Assistant Surgeon to the Brighton and Sussex Eye Infirmary, of which he was Consulting Surgeon at the time of his death. In 1874 he became the first Medical Officer of Health appointed for Brighton, and carried out his important duties with zeal and ability to the last. In 1877-1878 he was President of the Brighton and Sussex Medico-Chirurgical Society, President of the Section of Public Medicine at the Annual Meeting of the British Medical Association which was held in Brighton in 1886, and he took a prominent part in the proceedings of the Brighton Health Congress in 1881. He practically founded the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children and was its earnest supporter. The Prince of Wales opened the Hospital on July 21st, 1881, Taaffe formally asking the Prince to declare the building open and presenting him with a gold key to fit its principal lock. At the time of his death he was also Consulting Physician to the Institution, Physician to the Brighton Dramatic Company, and a member of the Society of Medical Officers of Health.

He died at his residence, 45 Old Steyne, on Saturday, March 3rd, 1888, leaving a widow and two sons.

"Address on the Transmission of Diseases through the Media of Food and Drink," delivered at the Brighton Health Congress, 1881.
Reports on Health of Brighton, 1874-86.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1888, i, 550].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England