William Stokes (physician)

William Stokes (1804–1878) physician

William Stokes (1804–1878) was an Irish physician.

William Stokes recorded and published the autopsy of Abraham Colles (1773 – 1843) performed by Robert William Smith as ‘Observations on the Case of the Late Abraham Colles. Colles requested that Smith be called upon to perform his own autopsy.

In 1825, Stokes produced one of the first treatises on the use of the stethoscope in clinical medicine. In 1846 he re-described the pattern of breathing previously described by John Cheyne (1818) now known as Cheyne-Stokes respiration. Stokes is also eponymously affiliated with Stokes-Adams syndrome which he described in 1846.

  • Born in Dublin on 1 October 1804. Father of of Sir William Stokes (1838-1900)
  • 1825 – MD, University of Edinburgh Medical School
  • 1826-1875 Physician to Meath Hospital, Dublin
  • 1838 – Co-founded the Pathological Society of Dublin along with Smith, Colles, Graves, and Corrigan
  • 1845 – Appointed by the Queen as Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Dublin
  • 1861 – Physician to the Queen in Ireland
  • 1867 – President of the British Medical Association
  • 1874 – President of the Irish Academy
  • 1875 – On commendation by the English ambassador, decorated by Emperor Wilhelm I with the Prussian Order Pour le Mérite for contributions to medicine
  • Died 10 January 1878 in Howth, Ireland

Medical Eponyms
Stokes-Adams syndrome (1846)

Cheyne–Stokes respiration (1854)


Note: William Stokes (physician)(1804–1878) – not to be confused with Sir William Stokes (surgeon) (1838-1900)…his son

My father left me but one legacy, the blessed gift of rising early

William Stokes

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 |

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