The first South Australian surgeon

“Every surgeon carries within them a small cemetery, where from time to time they go to pray…”

Rene Leriche

The office of Colonial Surgeon was a salaried position dating from the establishment of the British colony of South Australia. It existed until 1912, a decade after Federation. The first encumbant was Thomas Young Cotter, a native of Cork. Cotter held the position from 1837 until August 1839, when he was suspended from the role for neglect of duties. The Register newspaper reported that the issues had arisen over his treatment of one George Evans, resident of the Customs House, Port Adelaide. Evans suffered from jaundice, dysentery and dropsy, all aggravated by habitual intoxication. The surgeon was said to have not made important follow up visits in the days prior to the patient’s death. The defence of the Colonial Surgeon was that it was a hopeless case and with over 1400 to others to care for, a waste of precious time. Besides his horse was lame and the distance to the Port excessive. A fun Adelaide fact is that Cotter went on to propose and finance the iconic statute of Colonel William Light. #noaphrathen #letsmakelemonade

1 thought on “The first South Australian surgeon

  1. 1837 to 1939 ?? that’s 102 years!!


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