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Home Old Boys Percival Pott

Percival Pott

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Written by Neville Dastur   
Sunday, 13 March 2005 00:39
  • Name: Percival Pott
  • Dates: 1714 - 1788
  • Nationality: English
  • Place of Birth: Threadneedle Street London
  • Last Post: St Bartholomews
  • Last ward round note: What do you guys think about some kind of tibial nail? It'll never catch on you know.
  • Claim to fame: Pott's fracture
  • Other Famous Disease: Pott's Disease
  • Lesser Known Diseases: Pott's Puffy Tumour and Pott's Gangrene

Pott was born in Threadneedle Street in the City of London into a large family and became an apprentice at St Bartholemews Hospital a few streets away. In 1736 he obtained the grand diploma of the Barber Surgeons company and was appointed at his training hospital as a resident surgeon.

In the winter of 1756 Pott sustained a compound fracture of the tibia which was treated conservatively and amazingly he survived. He narrowly escaped an amputation as his tutor Edward Nourse came to his rescue at the last minute advocating a trial of setting and splinting.
Do not get caught out in exams - this was not a Pott's Fracture! (Distal tibia and not compound).

Pott's disease refers to TB of the spine and its disastrous sequelae. Again be wary of this subject at viva as tuberculosis and the bacterial pathogenic aetiology was not described until the 19th century.

Pott's puffy tumour is essentially an inflammatory swelling in the skull and Pott's Gangrene of the leg is sequelae of ischaemia. In addition he described an occupational disease in chimney sweeps - namely scrotal cancer. Originally, these 'soot warts' were thought to be sexually transmitted, as they mimicked syphilitic sores. Well, there's no smoke without fire, as they say.

 

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