Norman Gibbon

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 31 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1290
  1. H J Goldsmith

    Urologist who developed the eponymous bladder catheter

    After the second world war Norman Gibbon was invited to join Professor Charles Wells’s surgical unit in the David Lewis Northern Hospital, Liverpool, where he was guided into urology. At that time this was a relatively underdeveloped specialty, particularly in Merseyside, where specialisation was not encouraged.

    Once a week Norman was seconded to the Southport paraplegia unit. Being hard up, he reached this by train and bicycle despite having to carry each time a delicate four foot (1.2 m) glass tube for measuring bladder pressures. The later availability of plastic tubing made this journey less hazardous—and constituted the basis of the development of the eponymous Gibbon bladder catheter. The gradual evolution of this item, now in worldwide use, took place during late nights with the help of his wife, Eileen, and a Bunsen burner.

    In 1949 Norman was appointed consultant general surgeon at Walton Hospital and the Southport paraplegia unit. There, in recognition of his endoscopic expertise, his urological workload expanded, leading …

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