David Drummond

Sir David Drummond (1852–1932)

Sir David Drummond (1852–1932) was an English physician and pathologist.

His early works studied the diseases of the brain and spinal cord. He was a pioneer in clinical medicine, identifying the association between empyema and pneumonia, along with syphilis as the aetiological factor for general paresis and aortic aneurysm.

Sir Drummond’s name is eponymous with Drummond sign (1908) of pulsatile trachea air expulsion with intrathoracic aneurysm.

  • Born December 1852, Dublin, Ireland
  • 1874 – Graduated medical studies with M.B. and M.Ch. from Trinity College, Dublin
  • 1876 – Awarded M.D. degree from Trinity College after further studies in across Europe in Vienna, Strausbourg and Prague
  • 1878 – Appointed assistant physician and pathologist at the Royal Victorian Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • 1891-92 – President of the North of England Branch of the British Medical Association
  • 1911-24 – Professor of the principles and practice of medicine at the University of Durham College of Medicine, Newcastle
  • 1912 – Retired and made consulting physician at the Royal Infirmary, Newcastle
  • 1920 – Created C.B.E. (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his services during the war at Northumberland War Hospital
  • 1920 – Vice-Chancellor of the University of Durham
  • 1921-22 – President of the British Medical Association
  • 1923 – Honoured with Knight Bachelor appointment by King George V
  • 1925-26 – Member of the Royal Commission on Lunacy Law and Administration
  • Honorary degrees: D.C.L. (Trinity College); LL.D. degree (University of Glasgow); Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland
  • Died 28 April 1932 in Newcastle, England

Medical Eponyms
Drummond sign (1908)

Audible, pulsatile systolic expulsion of air from the trachea; original defined with relation to intrathoracic aortic aneurysm.

Tracheal whiff may be heard either in the trachea or in the mouth; it is usually systolic, but may be double, and is loudest when the patient is expiring slowly after a deep inspiration with the mouth wide open.

Drummond 1908

This had been previously described by Dr Arthur Ernest Sansom in 1896:

A systolic murmur, too feeble to be easily recognised in the ordinary manner, may be rendered distinctly audible by listening with a binaural stethoscope, the chest piece of which is placed in the patient’s mouth with his lips closed over it. On auscultating thus, the observer may hear a distinct or loud systolic murmur in the case of a thoracic aneurysm, the vibrations being communicated to the trachea, and thence directly by the air-column to the ears.

Sansom 1896

Major Publications


eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Doctor in Australia. Keen interest in internal medicine, medical education, and medical history.

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