Alfred Poland

Alfred Poland (1822-1872)

Alfred Poland (1822-1872) was an English surgeon

Eponymously remembered for his account of Poland syndrome in 1841

As editor of the Guy’s Hospital Reports, and by his numerous and valuable contributions in Holmes’s “System of Surgery” and the medical journals, he was deservedly well known. Mr. Poland was Surgeon and Ophthalmic Surgeon and Lecturer on Ophthalmic Surgery at Guy’s Hospital

  • Born August 30, 1822, London son of Sir William Henry Poland
  • 1839 – apprentice to Charles Aston Key (1798-1849) at Guy’s Hospital, London
  • 1845 – demonstrator of anatomy at Guy’s Hospital
  • 1847 – FRCS
  • 1848-1861 Surgeon to the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields
  • 1849 – assistant surgeon at Guy’s Hospital
  • 1853 – Fothergillian Medal for an essay on “Injuries and Wounds of the Abdomen”
  • 1857 – Jacksonian Prize for his essay on “Gunshot Wounds and their Treatment.”
  • 1861 – surgeon at Guy’s Hospital
  • Died on August 21, 1872 of consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis), a short but severe illness, accelerated by domestic trial [Medical Times]

Medical Eponyms
Poland syndrome (1841)

Unilateral congenital malformation characterized by unilateral defect of the pectoralis muscle with ipsilateral cutaneous syndactyly (webbed fingers).

Extremely rare condition. Male predominance, potential autosomal dominant inheritance.

1841 – Poland’s description was based upon a deceased convict named George Elt, whom he dissected at Guy’s Hospital.

Poland syndrome George Eft and Alfred Poland
Poland syndrome. A. Original plate (1841) B. George Elt’s left hand (not depicted in plate). Gordon Museum, the medical museum of Guy’s Hospital.

Poland-Möbius syndrome

Combination of Poland syndrome and Möbius syndrome II considered a specific genetic malformation with autosomal dominant inheritance.

1888 – Paul Julius Möbius (1853-1907) described congenital facial diplegia syndrome a rare congenital condition characterised by the absence or underdevelopment of the abducens (VI) and facial nerve (VII) nuclei.

Major publications



Eponymous terms


the person behind the name

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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