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Biographical entry Visick, Arthur Hedley Clarence (1897 - 1949)

MRCS 12 November 1922; FRCS 12 June 1924; MB BS. London 1924; LRCP 1922.

26 June 1897
4 April 1949
Gastroenterological surgeon


Born at Hampstead on 26 June 1897, second child and only son of Charles Hedley Clarence Visick, MRCS 1892, and Katherine Mary Cook, his wife. His father practised as an anaesthetist in North London; his grandfather and great-grandfather had also been medical men. His mother was related to Sir Albert Cook, CMG, MD, a prominent medical missionary in Uganda, and his sister, E M Griffith, MRCS, wife of J R Griffith, FRCS, is a gynaecological surgeon. He was educated at Epsom College and at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he won an entrance scholarship in 1915. He served during the war as a combatant soldier, and began his medical training in 1918. He won a succession of prizes and scholarships: the Treasurer's anatomy prize 1919, the Foster anatomy prize 1920, the Walsham pathology prize 1922, and the Willett operative surgery prize and Brackenbury surgical scholarship the same year. He then served as demonstrator of anatomy, house surgeon in the ear, nose, and throat department, house surgeon to Sir Holburt Waring, and chief assistant to Sir Charles Gordon-Watson in the surgical unit. After a period as clinical assistant at St Peter's Hospital for Stone, he went in 1926, as a Rockefeller scholar, to Michigan University where he served as instructor in orthopaedic surgery and assistant surgeon to Max M Peet, FACS, and became particularly interested in thyroid surgery. He also reorganized the clinical record-keeping methods.

He came back from America and settled at York in 1927, and was elected surgeon to the York County Hospital in 1928. He was also surgeon to the North Riding Mental Hospital, and consulting surgeon to the hospitals at Malton and Easingwold, and to the York City General Hospital, which was opened in 1942. He was surgical specialist to York Military Hospital, and to the Northern Command. His chief interest was at first in thyroid surgery, but from 1914 he became more interested in gastric surgery, especially the treatment of peptic ulcer. He discussed 500 cases of gastrectomy in his Hunterian lecture at the College in 1948. He had a large private practice, first at 25 High Petergate and latterly at The Old House, Fulford; every Wednesday he held a follow-up clinic, keeping personally in touch with every patient, and bringing in all his assistants, with a model system of detailed records. Visick was a member of the Leeds and West Riding Medico-Chirurgical Society, and was chairman of the York division of the British Medical Association 1938-43; the association awarded him the Bishop Harman prize in 1948. He was chairman of the house committee of the County Hospital, and a member of the York Hospital Management Committee. Though always ready to speak his mind, Visick was an appreciative and understanding colleague. At the time of his early death he was one of the most outstanding surgeons in the north. Visick married in 1929 Christine Ruegg, who survived him with two sons and a daughter. He died in the County Hospital, York, on 4 April 1949, aged 51. A memorial service was held in York Minster. He was devoted to country pursuits, which he enjoyed at a cottage outside York.


Anatomy of tendon-sheaths of the hand in relation to suppurating tenosynovitis. St Bart's Hosp J 1925, 32, 184.
Conservative treatment of acute perforated peptic ulcer. Brit med J 1946, 2, 941.
Five hundred cases of gastrectomy, Hunterian lecture. Ann Roy Coll Surg Engl 1948, 3, 266.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1949, 1, 674, with portrait and appreciations by C N P and by Sir Charles Gordon-Watson, KBE CMG FRCS; Brit med J 1949, 1, 729, and 1949, 2, 607, will; information from Mrs Visick, and from his sister, Mrs J R Griffith].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England