Henry Edmund Gaskin Boyle

Henry Edmund Gaskin Boyle (1875-1941)

Henry Edmund Gaskin Boyle (1875-1941) was a Barbadian/British anaesthetist.

  • Born 2 April 1875 in Porey Springs, Barbados
  • Educated at Harrison College, Bridgetown
  • 1894 – moved to England
  • 1901 – MRCS LRCP, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London
  • 1914 – Captain in the RAMC(T) and by 1917, he reported 1000 cases of nitrous oxide and oxygen with either ether or chloroform anaesthesia
  • 1920 – OBE for his work in the RAMC caring for wounded soldiers during the war
  • 1924 – President of the Anaesthetic Section of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • 1939 – Retired to Godalming, Surrey
  • Died 15 October 1941

Medical Eponyms
Boyle Intratracheal ether apparatus (1912)
Boyle Intratracheal Insufflation of Ether 1912

Apparatus that has been devised by Mr. G. E. Gask and myself for the intratracheal insufliation of ether. Air is driven from the bellows A, through hot water in the bottle c (the tap B is for air, and B I is a reserve tap for oxygen if necessary). The air then passes through E, over the surface of the ether in the smaller bottle, and so on to the gum-elastic catheter F. When it is desirable to give air without ether, E E are turned off and G is turned on.

Boyle Intratracheal ether apparatus 1912

Boyle machine (1919)

Boyle modified Gwathmey’s continuous flow apparatus as the Boyle Nitrous oxide-oxygen-ether outfit

Boyle Machine 1919 Lancet

The main points are : (1) each cylinder is provided with a fine adjustment reducing valve (the valves are so constructed that they can be fitted to any ordinary English cylinder); (2) the principle of the “sight feed ” has been adopted ; (3) there is a small spirit lamp for warming the reducing valve to the nitrous oxide cylinder; (4) a pressure gauge is attached to the oxygen cylinder; (5) a small rebreathing bag is attached, together with an ordinary 3-way stopcock and face-piece; (6) an ether bottle is connected up in the circuit; (7) the machine has been made in three sizes’

Boyle 1919

Boyle-Davis Gag

Boyle ‘imported’ the Canadian Davis mouth gag that then became known as the Boyle-Davis gag. In 1921, Boyle purchased a mouth gag modified for use in tonsillectomies and designed by S. Griffith Davis (1867-1934). Boyle published a paper on the gag in 1922 and then added a description to the third edition of his influential textbook Practical anaesthetics – subsequently the gag became better known as the Boyle, or Boyle-Davis, gag. 

Boyle-Davis mouth gag 1922

The gag shown by the accompanying illustration is a copy of one designed by Dr. Davis and was brought back by me from America. It combines gag and tongue retractor.

Boyle 1922

Major Publications


Sometimes difficult to find original papers. Boyle published many papers in the Lancet, under his preferred title of H. Edmund G. Boyle. This has led to the authorship being shared in many cases between two physicians…H. Edmund and G. Boyle

H. Edmund and G. Boyle Lancet


eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and informatics. Asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | vocortex |

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