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Thomas Addison

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Longbenton, Tyne and Wear, England, United Kingdom
Death: June 29, 1860 (67)
Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove, England, United Kingdom (Suicide, jumped off building)
Place of Burial: Lanercost, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Addison and Sarah Addison
Husband of Elizabeth Catherine Hauxwell
Brother of John Addison

Occupation: physician and scientist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Addison

From Wikipedia (English):

Thomas Addison (April 1793 – 29 June 1860) was a renowned 19th-century English physician and scientist. He is traditionally regarded as one of the "great men" of Guy's Hospital in London.

Among other pathologies he discovered Addison's disease (a degenerative disease of the adrenal glands) and Addisonian anemia (pernicious anemia), a hematological disorder later found to be caused by failure to absorb vitamin B12.

The early years

Thomas Addison was born in April 1793, but his exact birthdate is not known. He was born in Longbenton, near Newcastle upon Tyne, the son of Sarah and Joseph Addison, a grocer and flour dealer in Long Benton. He attended the local Thomas rutter school and then went to the Royal Free Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne. He learned Latin so well that he made notes in Latin and spoke it fluently.

Addison's father wanted him to become a lawyer, but he entered the University of Edinburgh in 1812 as a medical student. In 1815 he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. His thesis was on Dissertatio medica inauguralis quaedam de syphilide et hydrargyro complectens (Concerning Syphilis and Mercury).

Addison moved from Edinburgh to London the same year and became a house surgeon (a surgical resident) at the Lock Hospital. Addison was also a pupil of Thomas Bateman at the public dispensary. He began a practice in medicine while he was physician at an open ward reception on Carey Street.

Thanks to his teachers, Addison became fascinated by diseases of the skin (dermatology). This fascination, which lasted the rest of his life, led him to be the first to describe the changes in skin pigmentation typical of what is now called Addison's disease.

Death[edit] Thomas Addison suffered from many episodes of marked depression. It would seem certain that depression contributed to his retirement in 1860. He wrote then to his medical students as follows: "A considerable breakdown in my health has scared me from the anxieties, responsibilities and excitement of my profession; whether temporarily or permanently cannot yet be determined but, whatever may be the issue, be assured that nothing was better calculated to soothe me than the kind interest manifested by the pupils of Guy's Hospital during the many trying years devoted to that institution."

Three months later, on 29 June 1860, he committed suicide. The day after his death the Brighton Herald recorded that:

Dr Addison, formerly a physician to Guy's Hospital, committed suicide by jumping down the area (i.e. the space between the front of the house and the street) of 15 Wellington Villas, where he had for some time been residing, under the care of two attendants, having before attempted self-destruction. He was 72 years of age sic, and laboured under the form of insanity called melancholia, resulting from overwork of the brain. He was walking in the garden with his attendants, when he was summoned in to dinner. He made as if towards the front door, but suddenly threw himself over a dwarf-wall into the area - a distance of nine feet - and, falling on his head, the frontal bone was fractured, and death resulted at one o'clock yesterday morning

He was buried in the churchyard of Lanercost Priory. The hospital had a bust made of him, named a hall of the new part of the hospital for him, and perpetuated his memory with a marble wall table in the chapel.

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Thomas Addison's Timeline

April 1793
Longbenton, Tyne and Wear, England, United Kingdom
June 29, 1860
Age 67
Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove, England, United Kingdom
Lanercost, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom