George Frederic Still

Sir George Frederic Still KCVO (1868 – 1941)

Sir George Frederic Still KCVO (1868 – 1941) was an English paediatrician.

Described as the ‘father of British paediatrics’, Still wrote extensively on the paediatric population including works on congenital pyloric stenosis, infantile scurvy and congenital syphilis

First to describe a form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (Still’s disease); a more typhoidal illness in adults (Still’s disease); a benign murmur (Still’s murmur) and ADHD.

A confirmed bachelor devoted to his mother, George Frederic Still dedicated his life to paediatrics. After retirement Still moved to Rhodesia refined his skills in flyfishing and wrote a book of Children’s poetry


Biography

  • Born 27 February 1868, London
  • 1888 – Achieved first class honours in the classical tripos (Bachelor of Arts) at Gonville and Caius’ College, Cambridge
  • 1893 – Completed medical studies at Guy’s Hospital in London
  • 1897 – Published doctoral thesis ‘on a form of childhood febrile arthritis‘ (today known as Still’s disease)
  • 1899 – Physician for diseases of children to King’s College Hospital, London
  • 1901 – Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians
  • 1906 – Honorary professor of diseases of children at King’s, the first chair of paediatrics in England
  • 1928 – Elected as the inaugural president of the British Paediatric Association
  • 1937 – Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KVCO)
  • Died 28 June 1941

Medical Eponyms

Still’s disease (1896)

Still first described this form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis as a distinct disease, which was previously classified as rheumatoid arthritis in children. He presented 22 cases mostly from the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, with chronic elastic fusiform joint enlargement, splenomegaly, and enlargement of glands in a paper titled ‘On a form of chronic joint disease in children‘. [Still GF. 1896 Med-chir. Trans. 80, 47]

Still outlined that this disease differed from rheumatoid arthritis as there was a clinical absence of bony and osteophytic changes, presence of glands and spleen enlargement, and absence of cartilage changes on pathology.


Still’s murmur (1909)

Benign “twangy” (like a string being plucked) medium-to-long ejection systolic murmur, heard loudest at the left lower sternal border and apex. Also referred to as a ‘vibratory murmur’.

Still murmur cardiac eponym

I should like to draw attention to a particular bruit which has somewhat of a musical character, but is neither of sinister omen nor does it indicate endocarditis of any sort. …its characteristic feature is a twangy sound, very like that made by twanging a piece of tense string… Whenever may be its origin, I think it is clearly functional, that is to say, not due to any organic disease of the heart either congenital or acquired.

Still GF. 1909

Controversies

Still was fluent in Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Arabic. He pointed out the Greek etymological derivation of Pædiatrics versus Pediatrics to the BMJ in 1927. The semantic connotations continue…

Still GF. Letter to the Editor BMJ Nov 10 1927
Still-GF-1927-paediatric-etymology
BMJ Editorial response
Still-GF-1927-BMJ-Response

Major Publications


References


eponymictionary CTA

eponym

the person behind the name

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

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