Thomas graduated as a doctor of medicine in 1815. He was a brilliant lecturer and clinical teacher. With Richard Bright he wrote the Elements of the Practice of Medicine. It was Thomas who gave the first adequate description of appendicitis and its results.
- Born: Long Benton — April 1793
- Died: Brighton — 29thJune 1860
- The founder of endocrinology
- Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians
- Educated: University of Edinburgh & Guy’s Hospital
Imagine living before Thomas explained appendicitis. If you developed appendicitis you would die in pain probably surrounded by doctors who would be telling you relatives that there was nothing they could do. When I had appendicitis in 1955, it was less than an hour until my appendix had been removed and only a couple of days until I was home and happy.
You may have heard of the disease named afer him. He had been researching into the “suprarenal capsules”. In 1855, a hundred years before I had appendicitis, he wrote a book entitled On the Constitution and Local Effects of Disease of the Supra-Renal Capsules: we call them our adrenal glands. Further studies of these showed that they secreted chemical messengers, hormones. This was the starting point for endocrinology.
So who was he?