Adams, Robert

Robert Adams (1791-1875)

Robert Adams was born in Dublin in 1791 and was the son of a Dublin solicitor.

He attended Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons, and was apprenticed to William Hartigan, a leading surgeon of the time. He graduated BA in 1813 and the licentiate of the RCSI in 1815, and then toured the leading hospitals of the continent.

On returning to Dublin he was appointed Surgeon to Jervis Street and Richmond hospitals, and was given his membership of the Irish College of Surgeons in 1818. He received his MD degree in 1842.

He founded a medical school in Eccles Street, and lived at 22 St. Stephens Green, next to Abraham Colles. In 1827, Adams founded the Richmond Medical School with fellow surgeon, Richard Carmichael in 1827. He was a prolific writer, contributing over 100 papers to medical literature.

In 1827, he was the first to associate cerebral symptoms with abnormal cardiac rhythm. Confirmed by Stokes about 20 years later, Stokes -Adams syndrome is the first of the Irish eponyms in medicine. Adams also had an interest in rheumatism, a condition from which he himself suffered, and was the first to describe a synovial popliteal cyst at the back of the knee, now known as Baker’s cyst, after an English physician.

Adams was formally appointed surgeon to the Richmond Hospital in 1838 and became Professor of Surgery in Trinity College Dublin at the age of 70. He died in 1875 and is buried in Mount Jerome cemetery in Dublin.


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