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James Macartney and his Successor Arthur Jacob, Pioneers in Development of Medical Education, Hospitals, Anatomy and Surgery

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ABSTRACT

Initially motivated by romantic disappointment, Armagh native James Macartney moved to Dublin to train as a surgeon with William Hartigan and then to London, where his subsequent posts included attachment as Surgeon to a regiment posted to Ireland in 1811 in anticipation of a French invasion. Remaining in Ireland, two years later he succeeded Hartigan as Professor of Anatomy and Chirurgery in Trinity College Dublin where he instigated a series of substantial improvements in the materials, curriculum and buildings provided for the teaching of anatomy in the medical school, often at the expense of harmony with his colleagues.

Having suffered severe ophthalmia as a child, Macartney had a personal interest in investigation of the structure and diseases of the eye. He soon founded the National Eye Infirmary and, a few years later, secured permission from the Board of Trinity College to recruit Arthur Jacob as Demonstrator in Anatomy specialising in ophthalmology.

Shortly after arriving in Dublin, Jacob was first to publish a report identifying the ‘bacillary layer of the retina’ which came to be named the membrana Jacobi and is now known as the ‘layer of rods and cones’. His academic career then progressed to include appointment to the Chair of Anatomy and Physiology in, and Presidency of, his alma mater, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. While in his clinical practice his achievements included the founding of additional dedicated ophthalmic wards in Dublin hospitals, description of rodent ulcer on the eye-lid and innovation in the treatment of cataract, he had a parallel career as co-founder and (frequently controversial) editor of, and contributor to, the weekly Dublin Medical Press, which remained in publication as the Medical Press and Circular until 1961.

No MeSH data available.


Formal portrait of James Macartney MD, FRCPI, FLS, MRIA, FRS, LLD. Reproduced by kind permission of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (ref. VM/1/2/M/1).
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Figure 0003: Formal portrait of James Macartney MD, FRCPI, FLS, MRIA, FRS, LLD. Reproduced by kind permission of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (ref. VM/1/2/M/1).

Mentions: The regiment disbanded in 1812, and in December of that year, Hartigan died and his chair of Anatomy and Chirurgery in Trinity College Dublin (to which he had been elected in 1806) fell vacant. Despite discouragement from Mrs. Hartigan (who had been promised the proceeds of the public lectures if her late husband's former deputy, Dr Wilmot, had secured the professorship), Macartney resolved to apply for the post, and in May 1813 took the MD degree at the University of St. Andrews. When the Board of Trinity College met in the following month to fill the vacant chair there were five candidates. Two of them (including Dr Wilmot) each received just one vote, two none, and Macartney was duly elected when the Provost and the five other Senior Fellows voted for him. Shortly afterwards the College conferred the MD honoris causa on the new Professor to soothe the misgivings of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. It had recommended that a physician be appointed because the duties of the post included the office of Clinical Physician to Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, giving clinical instruction to students of Medicine, a task that it believed could not properly be undertaken by someone who had only studied and practised surgery and who, in that post, could not expect the professional cooperation of physicians on the staff of the hospital. Five years later, however, Macartney overcame this objection by persuading the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland to elect him an honorary fellow, mentioning in his letter to the President that ‘I might add that Dr. Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood while preparing for his lectures on surgery in the College of Physicians of London’ (Figure 3). 1, 4


James Macartney and his Successor Arthur Jacob, Pioneers in Development of Medical Education, Hospitals, Anatomy and Surgery
Formal portrait of James Macartney MD, FRCPI, FLS, MRIA, FRS, LLD. Reproduced by kind permission of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (ref. VM/1/2/M/1).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4920485&req=5

Figure 0003: Formal portrait of James Macartney MD, FRCPI, FLS, MRIA, FRS, LLD. Reproduced by kind permission of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (ref. VM/1/2/M/1).
Mentions: The regiment disbanded in 1812, and in December of that year, Hartigan died and his chair of Anatomy and Chirurgery in Trinity College Dublin (to which he had been elected in 1806) fell vacant. Despite discouragement from Mrs. Hartigan (who had been promised the proceeds of the public lectures if her late husband's former deputy, Dr Wilmot, had secured the professorship), Macartney resolved to apply for the post, and in May 1813 took the MD degree at the University of St. Andrews. When the Board of Trinity College met in the following month to fill the vacant chair there were five candidates. Two of them (including Dr Wilmot) each received just one vote, two none, and Macartney was duly elected when the Provost and the five other Senior Fellows voted for him. Shortly afterwards the College conferred the MD honoris causa on the new Professor to soothe the misgivings of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. It had recommended that a physician be appointed because the duties of the post included the office of Clinical Physician to Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, giving clinical instruction to students of Medicine, a task that it believed could not properly be undertaken by someone who had only studied and practised surgery and who, in that post, could not expect the professional cooperation of physicians on the staff of the hospital. Five years later, however, Macartney overcame this objection by persuading the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland to elect him an honorary fellow, mentioning in his letter to the President that ‘I might add that Dr. Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood while preparing for his lectures on surgery in the College of Physicians of London’ (Figure 3). 1, 4

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Initially motivated by romantic disappointment, Armagh native James Macartney moved to Dublin to train as a surgeon with William Hartigan and then to London, where his subsequent posts included attachment as Surgeon to a regiment posted to Ireland in 1811 in anticipation of a French invasion. Remaining in Ireland, two years later he succeeded Hartigan as Professor of Anatomy and Chirurgery in Trinity College Dublin where he instigated a series of substantial improvements in the materials, curriculum and buildings provided for the teaching of anatomy in the medical school, often at the expense of harmony with his colleagues.

Having suffered severe ophthalmia as a child, Macartney had a personal interest in investigation of the structure and diseases of the eye. He soon founded the National Eye Infirmary and, a few years later, secured permission from the Board of Trinity College to recruit Arthur Jacob as Demonstrator in Anatomy specialising in ophthalmology.

Shortly after arriving in Dublin, Jacob was first to publish a report identifying the ‘bacillary layer of the retina’ which came to be named the membrana Jacobi and is now known as the ‘layer of rods and cones’. His academic career then progressed to include appointment to the Chair of Anatomy and Physiology in, and Presidency of, his alma mater, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. While in his clinical practice his achievements included the founding of additional dedicated ophthalmic wards in Dublin hospitals, description of rodent ulcer on the eye-lid and innovation in the treatment of cataract, he had a parallel career as co-founder and (frequently controversial) editor of, and contributor to, the weekly Dublin Medical Press, which remained in publication as the Medical Press and Circular until 1961.

No MeSH data available.