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William Dease (1752?-1798) Irish surgeon and anatomist, was born about 1752 in Lisney, County Cavan. He was one of the founders of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and its first Professor of Surgery. He studied surgery in Dublin and Paris and was appointed surgeon to the United Hospitals of St Nicholas and St Catherine.
Dease was an original member of the Dublin Society of Surgeons who sought to dissolve the connection that linked surgeons with barbers. The granting of a charter to the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1784 replaced the original charter of barbers and surgeons, enabling the College to promote and advance surgery in Ireland. According to Cameron in his History of RCSI, Dease contributed liberally towards the expenses incurred in procuring the College Charter. He was the most energetic of the Founders of the
College, and was one of the first to lecture in it. His success as a teacher was so great that young men were attracted to him, and enrolled themselves as his apprentices or pupils in great numbers.
Dease published treatises on head injuries, midwifery and the radical cure of hydrocele. Dease had a good practice, and married Eliza, daughter of Sir Richard Dowdall. His death was in June 1798, under circumstances that are unclear. According to one account he had made the mistake of opening an aneurism in a patient with a fatal result, taking it for an abscess, went to his study and opened his own femoral artery; according to another account, he died from an accidental wound of the femoral artery; and by a third account, from the rupture of an aneurism. In 1812 the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland procured his bust and placed it in the inner hall; in 1886 a statue of him, presented by his grandson, was placed in the principal hall of the college.
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