Intended for healthcare professionals


Richard Wellesley Spencer

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 01 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2735
  1. Stephen Spencer

Richard Wellesley Spencer had a distinguished student record and acquired a distinction in surgery. Although he never had any great aspirations to become a surgeon, within a year or so of qualifying and while serving in wartime as a surgeon lieutenant in the Royal Navy (an FY2, in today’s terminology), he performed an appendicectomy on a sick rating. The anaesthetist was a sick bay orderly with an ether rag. In the days before widespread antibiotics and intravenous crystalloids, let alone airlifting, and still several days’ sailing from an allied port he felt he had no choice but to …

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