Robert William Smith (1807 – 1873) was an Irish Surgeon.
Prominent physician in Ireland, an astute linguist, medical historian and surgical pathologist publishing on topics ranging from arthritis to neuroma
Surgeon to Sir Patrick Duns Hospital was appointed the first chair of Surgery at Trinity College when it was established in 1847
Eponymously affiliated with the Smith Fracture
It is, I conceive, the duty of every person who undertakes to write upon a given subject, to make himself, as far as possible, acquainted with, and also to acknowledge the labours of those who may have preceded him in the same field of inquiry Smith, 1847
- Born 12 October, Dublin
- 1832 – Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
- 1838 – Co-founder of the Pathological Society of Dublin
- 1847 – First chair of surgery at Trinity College
- 1870 – Professor of Surgery at Trinity College, Dublin
- 1873 – Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
- Died 28 October 1873, Dublin
Key Medical Attributions:
- 1838 – Co-founded the Pathological Society of Dublin along with Colles, Graves, Corrigan and Stokes
- 1847 – Published his treatise on fractures, described as ‘the most important work on fractures in English since Sir Astley Paston Cooper (1822).
- 1849 – Smith published a monograph ‘A Treatise on the Pathology, Diagnosis and Treatment of Neuroma‘ containing an extensive review of the literature as well as his own observations. The book included a full description of generalized neurofibromatosis, including a description of von Recklinghausen syndrome (neurofibromatosis Type I) over 30 years before von Recklinghausen described it.
- Smith fracture (1847)
Although he practiced surgery, his primary interest was in pathological anatomy. His reputation as a pathologist was so great that Abraham Colles requested that Smith be called upon to perform Colles’ own autopsy. The autopsy was performed and later published by later published in William Stokes’s ‘Observations on the Case of the Late Abraham Colles‘
“Smith may be considered one of our best models for conducting surgical observations” American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 1847
- Smith RW. An essay upon the original or congenital luxations of the upper extremity of the humerus. Dublin: Hodges Smith. 1839.
- Smith RW. A Treatise on Fractures in the Vicinity of Joint and on Certain Forms of Accidental and Congenital Dislocations. Dublin: Hodges Smith. 1847.
- Smith RW. On Fractures of the Bones of the Fore-arm in the Vicinity of the Wrist Joint. Dublin, Hodges Smith. 1847: 129-175. [Smith fracture]
- Smith RW. A treatise on the pathology, diagnosis and treatment of neuroma. 1849. [Re=print: Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1989;(245):3-9. PMID2502348] The illustrations were ‘drawn from life and on stone‘ and are for the most part life-size. The monograph itself is unusual, being an elephant folio measuring 48 x 70 cm, and is said to be the largest book ever published in Ireland up to that time.
- Smith RW. Observations upon chronic rheumatic arthritis of the shoulder. Dublin, Hodges Smith. 1853
- Smith RW. Case of supra-sternal luxation of the clavicle. Dublin: Falconer. 1872
- Stokes W. Observations on the case of the late Abraham Colles MD: formerly Professor of Surgery in the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science. 1846;1(2)303–322
- Peltier LR. Eponymic fractures: Robert William Smith and Smith’s fracture. Surgery 1959; 45: 1035-1042. [PMID 13659347]
- Shah HM, Chung KC. Robert William Smith: His Life and His Contributions to Medicine. J Hand Surg Am. 2008 Jul-Aug; 33(6): 948–951. [PMC4381934]
- Peltier LR. Six eponymic fractures. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1960 Jul;48:345-351. [PMC200500]
- Mostofi SB. Who’s Who in Orthopedics. Springer. 2005:309-310
- Zhang Y. Clinical Epidemiology of Orthopedic Trauma. Thieme. 2012
- Cooney WP. Clinical Epidemiology of Orthopedic Trauma. LWW. 2010
the person behind the name