Fellows 1956

Exordium - Eric Gandevia



Name: John Egerton Williams


Date of Birth: 27 April 1916
Date of Death: 3 January 2013

After qualifying in medicine, John Egerton Williams was drafted into the Royal Army Medical Corps and shipped to Lagos, Nigeria, completing almost two years of duty. In 1946, Williams served as an Army Medical Corps anaesthetist with the occupation forces in Germany.

Williams returned to England around 1948 before deciding to migrate to Australia. He took a position as a ship’s doctor, which enabled him to travel ahead of his family and scope work. In 1949, Williams relocated to Australia with his family, taking up a position as a general practitioner in Preston, before concentrating on anaesthesia and being appointed as assistant honorary anaesthetist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and opening private rooms in Collins Street.

Williams developed a “wind tunnel”, based on the principles of the “Coolgardie safe”, to quickly reduce the body’s temperature during surgery, in order to slow blood flow. This development saw him publish in the Lancet, as well as being invited to speak on this topic around the world.

Williams also began taking on a heavier workload at the Heidelberg and Bundoora repatriation hospitals, and was shortly appointed to the permanent staff before being made director of anaesthesia for the Commonwealth repatriation hospitals in 1955. He held this position until his retirement in 1976.

Obituary, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 January 2013; Form of Proposal for Nomination to Fellowship, 1956.

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