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Biographical entry Adams, Arthur Wilfred (1892 - 1973)

MRCS 1916; FRCS 1919; MB BS London 1916; MS 1921; LRCP 1916.

30 September 1892
9 December 1973
General surgeon and Urological surgeon


Arthur Wilfred Adams was born in Bristol on 30 September 1892 and educated at Clifton College, the Bristol Medical School and the London Hospital. He qualified in 1916 and then served in the RAMC. He took the FRCS in 1919, less than one year after demobilization, and proceeded to the MS in 1921. The following year he was appointed assistant surgeon to Southmead Hospital. He was in turn a specialist in many surgical fields. He was interested in paediatric surgery and pioneered spinal anaesthesia. He was one of the first Bristol surgeons who regularly undertook gastrectomy for peptic ulcer.

After his appointment to Southmead Hospital he began a notable career in urology. In 1947 he retired as senior general surgeon to the Royal Infirmary to become surgeon in charge of the newly founded department of urology, the first of its kind in an undergraduate teaching hospital outside London.

He was Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1950. He was President of the Urological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1943 and a past President of the Moynihan Chirurgical Club. He was a staunch advocate of fresh air and exercise, much of which he took on his bicycle. He was a keen gardener and enjoyed tennis. The study of Latin, bird watching and star gazing were favourite pastimes.

In November 1918, he married Hilda Kate Ewins who had been in the same year at the university and qualified in medicine. She died in July 1972. There were three children, a boy who died in 1956 and two girls. The death of his son was a severe blow but he regained his outward gaiety and soldiered on. He died on 9 December 1973 and is survived by his two daughters.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet 1975, 1, 176-7; Brit med J 1975, 1, 275].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England