Hamilton Bailey

Henry Hamilton Bailey (1894-1961)

Henry Hamilton Bailey (1894-1961) was an English surgeon.

  • Born on October 1, 1894 at Bishopstoke, Hampshire son of Dr Henry James Bailey MB, MS (Edin)
  • 1912 – entered London Hospital Medical College
  • 1914 – volunteered for service with the Red Cross and was sent to Brussels, serving as a dresser. Belgium was rapidly overrun by the Germans and Bailey was taken prisoner
  • 1916 – released and became temporary surgeon with the Royal Navy serving aboard HMS Inflexible, HMS M19, and HMS Iron Duke
  • 1920 – FRCS, becoming surgical registrar and 1st surgical assistant at London Hospital. While operating on a patient with septic peritonitis, accidently pricked his finger, suffering an infection to right index finger leading to its amputation
  • 1925 – moves to Liverpool. Marries Vera Gillender. Awarded Gillson Scholarship by Society of Apothecaries
  • 1926 – first independent surgical post at Dudley Road Hospital, Birmingham
  • 1927 – publishes Demonstrations of physical signs in clinical surgery
  • 1930 Joins Royal Northern Hospital, London. Publishes Emergency Surgery
  • 1931 Surgeon at Bruce Wills Memorial Hospital at Bristol
  • 1932 Publishes A Short Practice of Surgery
  • 1940 Publishes Surgery of Modern Warfare
  • 1944 Publishes Notable Names in Medicine and Surgery
  • 1949 Admitted to mental health hospital in Sussex suffering manic-depression. He remained an inpatient for 2 years. Due for pre-frontal leucotomy but successfully treated with lithium
  • Died 1961

Medical Eponyms

Sister Mary Joseph Nodule

Originally the Sister Joseph Nodule, now commonly referred to as a Sister Mary Joseph Nodule, the physical finding was eponymously named after Sister Mary Joseph (Julia Dempsey), nursing superintendent of Saint Mary’s Hospital, now known as the Mayo Clinic. Entering the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes in Rochester, Julia Dempsy received the name of Sister Mary Joseph. She went on to study nursing and became the first surgical assistant under the guidance of Dr William James Mayo from 1890-1915. It was while working under Dr Mayo that Sister Mary noted the paraumbilical nodules during skin prep and correlated these to the intra-abdominal malignancy then found during the operation.


In 1958, Sir Hamilton Bailey was preparing a new edition of his Short Practice of Surgery. As he later reported in letters to the Lancet and the British Medical Journal, he did not detect the falsity of the Coudé biography until his text was in page proof. Consequently several pages of the new edition had to be reset and biographical references to Coudé deleted.

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 |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.