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Sir William Arbuthnot Lane 1856–1943

W. A. Lane
Published 1985 · Medicine

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Arbuthnot Lane was born at Fort George, Inverness, Scotland, on July 4th, 1856, the eldest son of a military surgeon. As a youth, Lane moved frequently with his parents-to South Africa, Ceylon, Nova Scotia, Malta, Ireland. Lane entered Guy's Hospital in 1872, achieving his F.R.C.S. in 1882. In the intervening years he accumulated an additional year of travel in the Caribbean as a ship's surgeon.In 1888 Lane was appointed to the staff of Guy's Hospital in London. Lane was considered a master surgical technician and became known as one of the few surgeons from whose operations a patient could be expected to survive. Three procedures are considered his greatest endeavors: Treatment of cleft palate, open reduction and internal fixation of fractures, and the treatment of “chronic intestinal stasis,” the subject for this Classics presentation. After initially performing ileocolonic bypass and then partial colectomy, he developed the technique of total abdominal colectomy for this condition.During the First World War, Lane was consulting surgeon to the Aldershot Command, in addition to his responsibilities at Guy's Hospital and at the Hospital for Sick Children (Great Ormond Street). He had been created a Baronet in 1913. Because of this honor he felt compelled to adopt his middle name for address rather than the informal, “Willie,” which his friends and students called him. In 1917 he was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.He wrote voluminously (313 papers) and produced a number of short books. In 1925 he founded the New Health Society, an organization dedicated to social concerns in medicine.Lane died, January 16, 1943, at the age of 86.

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