Lives of the fellows

Edward Copeman

b.26 December 1809 d.25 February 1880
MD Lond Hon MD Aberd LSA FRCS(1845) FRCP(1871)

Edward Copeman was born at Great Witchingham, Norfolk, the eldest son of Edward Breeze Copeman, a merchant banker, of Coltishall House, Norfolk. After attending the Grammar School at Trunch, he was apprenticed first to one surgeon and then, on his death, to J. G. Crosse, F.R.S., F.R.C.S. Qualifying from St. George’s Hospital, London, in 1831, he started general practice at Coltishall. However, in 1848, having become an F.R.C.S. three years previously, he set up in Norwich as a consultant, mainly in gynaecology. In 1851 he was elected physician to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, an office which he held till 1878. Copeman also served on the staffs of the Norwich Eye Infirmary, the Lying-In Charity, and the Jenny Lind Hospital for Children, which he had helped to found. His principal publications were On Apoplexy (1845) and Illustrations of Puerperal Fever (1860). In gynaecology he was something of a pioneer and the inventor of several instruments. He was a strong advocate of the vectis and attracted much attention abroad by the treatment of the vomiting of pregnancy by dilatation of the os uteri. He was president of the B.M.A. at its Norwich meeting in 1874 and in his oration attributed the spread of contagious diseases to the deficient drainage then universal in country districts and recommended the institution of " part-time medical officers of health, if necessary with special qualifications ". Copeman was an enthusiastic lover of music and a ’cello player of considerable ability. For many years he was chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Musical Festivals. In person he was handsome, portly and heavily bearded, and, since he lived in the Cathedral Close, his soubriquet of "the Bishop" was universally approved.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1880; B.M.J., 1880; Plarr, i, 276]

(Volume IV, page 192)

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