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Biographical entry Waugh, George Ernest (1876 - 1940)

MRCS 1 August 1901; FRCS 8 December 1904; BA Cambridge 1897; MB London 1901; MD 1903; BS 1904; LRCP 1901.

26 October 1876
King's Sutton, Northamptonshire
3 April 1940
King's Sutton, Northamptonshire
General surgeon


Born on 26 October 1876 at King's Sutton, Northamptonshire, where his father was in general practice, he was the second child and first son of George Waugh, MB, CM 1869, and Annie, his wife, daughter of Thomas Minks of York. He was educated at Epsom College, to which he was later a generous benefactor, a wise member of council, and the honorary surgeon. From Epsom he went to Downing College, Cambridge, where he was a foundation scholar and prizeman. He graduated BA with first-class honours in part 1 of the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1897, and then entered the Medical Faculty of University College, London. He took his medical degrees at the University of London with honours in medicine and physiology. At University College Hospital he acted as house surgeon to Arthur E J Barker, and in the Medical Faculty he was senior demonstrator of anatomy and teacher of surgical anatomy when George Dancer Thane was the professor. The house surgeoncy ended, he was appointed resident medical superintendent at the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street on 18 December 1902, and was successively casualty officer, 8 December 1904, assistant surgeon, 20 December 1905, aural surgeon, 12 February 1906, surgeon, 1 December 1911, and consulting surgeon, 1 December 1926.

At the Hampstead General and North West London Hospital, Haverstock Hill, he was elected surgeon to out-patients in 1908, was promoted surgeon in 1920, and became consulting surgeon in 1932. From November 1923 until October 1926 he was chairman of the medical committee of the Hospital, his predecessor in the office being Sir William Job Collins. During the war he received a commission as major, RAMC, dated 27 July 1918. Endowed with a lovable personality, a friend to little children, and an excellent surgeon, Waugh should have attained to the highest rank in his profession. He was hampered throughout his life by a deafness, which gradually increased until it became almost total. But in spite of this great drawback he retained his good spirits and his kindly humour. As resident medical superintendent at the Great Ormond Street Hospital he re-organized the entire surgical technique, introducing sterilized dressings packed in drums and a sterilizer for the instruments used in the operating theatre. His improvements were so greatly appreciated by his colleagues that the post of casualty officer was made for him, and he was instructed to re-organize the out-patient department on similar lines. During the early days he devised an operation for the complete enucleation of the tonsils, which was a great advance on the method of slicing them off with a guillotine, which was then the usual practice. It found favour and became the standard operation in English-speaking countries. He married Ada Helene Farrington of New York on 28 March 1918. She survived him, but without children. He retired to his native village of King's Sutton, and died there at The Court House on 3 April 1940. He left his large fortune to Epsom College, subject to his wife's life interest.

Cleft palate, in Index of Treatment, edited by R Hutchison. Bristol, Wright, 1907. Operations on the tonsils. Burghard's System of Operative Surgery, 1913.
Congenital malformations of the mesentery: a clinical entity. Brit J Surg 1927-28, 15, 438-449.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 6 April 1940, p 9e and 11 April 1940, p llf; Lancet, 1940, 1, 721; Brit med J 1940, 1, 639, with portrait, a poor likeness and 1940, 1, 674; information given by Mrs Waugh and by the secretaries of the Hospital for Sick Children, Mr H F Rutherford, and the Hampstead General Hospital, Mr Kenneth A F Miles; personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England