Lives of the fellows

William Brinton

b.20 November 1823 d.26 January 1867
MB Lond(1847) MD FRCP(1854) FRS(1864)

William Brinton, the second son of Henry Brinton, J.P, a carpet manufacturer at Kidderminster, was educated at private schools and then apprenticed to a local surgeon. His medical studies proper took place at King’s College, London, where he won the Leathes and Warneford prizes; and, after graduating as M.B. in 1847, he remained in junior posts in the Medical School for six years. He also held an early appointment at the Western Dispensary and in 1852 was elected physician to the Royal Free Hospital. A year afterwards he started to lecture on forensic medicine at St. Thomas’s Hospital, later becoming joint lecturer on physiology. In 1860 he resigned from the Royal Free Hospital on being made physician to St. Thomas’s, but this appointment, too, came to an end after four years, on account of the poor state of his health.

Brinton made a special study of intestinal obstruction, and among his published works were Pathology, Symptoms, and Treatment of Ulcer of the Stomach (1857), Lectures on the Diseases of the Stomach (1859), of which a second edition appeared in 1864, and On Food and its Digestion (1861). He translated Valentin’s Text Book of Physiology in 1853. In 1867, after his death, a treatise by him on Intestinal Obstruction was brought out by T. Buzzard. Brinton also wrote On the Medical Selection of Lives for Assurance (1856), whose fourth edition was published ,in 1869. He delivered the Croonian Lectures before the Royal College of Physicians in 1859 and was elected an F.R.S. in 1864. Outside his work, he was known to his friends for his passion for climbing in the Tyrol. He was a skilled artist and a witty speaker. But he suffered, perhaps, from an inability to take defeat in his stride, as when he failed to obtain the chair of physiology at King’s in succession to R. B. Todd. Brinton married in 1854 and had six children.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1867. B.M.J., 1867; Parsons, iii, 162; D.N.B., vi, 350]

(Volume IV, page 74)

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