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Biographical entry Whipple, John (1800 - 1877)

MRCS March 5th 1824; FRCS July 8th 1869; LSA 1823.

24 June 1800
Kingsbridge, Devon
18 June 1877
General surgeon


Born at Kingsbridge, Devonshire, on June 24th, 1800, the son of Commander Whipple, RN; studied at the Royal Naval Hospital, Stonehouse, as a pupil of Sir Stephen Hammick, Bart (qv), and at St Thomas's Hospital. For some years he accompanied Admiral Sir A Cochrane on his travels as Surgeon, and then settled in practice in Plymouth. During the cholera epidemic in 1832 he laboured so zealously in the cause of the sick that he was presented with the freedom of the town and with a silver snuffbox in token of the gratitude and esteem of his fellow-townsmen.

He was a bold and skilful surgeon, and in 1886 divided the tendo Achillis for the relief of club-foot, being the first British surgeon to do so. On Feb 7th, 1846, he amputated at the hip-joint, the third time that operation had been done with success in England. The patient survived Whipple, being alive in 1877.

From the establishment of the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital in 1840 he was one of the Surgeons, retiring in 1870 in favour of his son, Connell Whipple, MRCS.

For many years he was Surgeon to the Plymouth Dispensary. At the Plymouth Meeting of the British Medical Association in 1871 he was President, and on his retirement from that office in 1872 was made Vice-President for life.

Whipple's kindness of heart made him very popular in South Devon and Cornwall; he devoted himself to practice and hospital work and took no part in public affairs. Although ailing for the previous year, he continued work until a month before his death, which occurred at St Andrew's Lodge, Plymouth, on June 18th, 1877.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England