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Biographical entry McConnell, Adams Andrew (1884 - 1972)

Hon FRCS 1959; BA 1906; MB BCh BAO Dublin 1909; MA Dublin 1946; FRCSI 1911; MCh (Hon) 1946.

2 June 1884
5 April 1972


Adams McConnell was born in Belfast on 2 June 1884, and was educated at the Royal Academical Institution and Dublin University, where he graduated in medicine in 1909. He early showed his outstanding qualities by winning a gold medal at the BA examination in 1906, at the end of his pre-clinical studies.

After holding junior appointments at Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital he joined the staff of the Richmond Hospital, and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1911. The following year he visited the United States, and his career in neurosurgery may be considered to have started at that time. He soon distinguished himself in this specialty, being one of the first surgeons in the United Kingdom to adopt Walter Dandy's practice of ventriculography. He was one of the party of seventeen surgeons who met at the Athenaeum on 2 December 1926 and founded the Society of British Neurological Surgeons, and it is generally acknowledged that it was due to the influence of Geoffrey Jefferson, Norman Dott and Hugh Cairns and Adams McConnell that the Society initially won its prestige. He was not only a skilled surgeon and a gifted and witty speaker but also a most kindly and generous host, and the meetings of the Society in Dublin in 1931, 1936, 1948 and 1957 were memorable as well as most enjoyable occasions. McConnell was President of the Society in the years 1936 to 1938.

In addition to his clinical duties at the Richmond Hospital he was much appreciated as a teacher, and for many years he was chairman of the board of governors. He was President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland from 1935 to 1937, and was appointed Professor of Surgery in Dublin University in 1946, a post which he held till his retirement when he was made an honorary Fellow of Trinity College. He was President of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland in 1946-47; and in 1959 the Royal College of Surgeons of England was proud to admit him to the Honorary Fellowship.

In spite of many honours and distinctions bestowed on him he remained a genial, friendly person without a trace of pomposity, and was ever most popular with the younger generation. He had a beautiful home at Shankill where he delighted in entertaining his friends and visitors. He died in Dublin on 5 April 1972, and his second wife survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1972, 2, 535].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England