Edgar Stanley Rowbotham 1890-1979
Edgar Stanley Rowbotham was born in London on 8 May 1890. In 1915 he qualified from Charing Cross Hospital, as his father and grandfather had done. At the outbreak of the First World War he was a medical student and a member of the OTC and was immediately called up and sent to France, where he served in an infantry regiment. On the advice of his commanding officer he returned to complete his medical training and qualified with the conjoint diploma in 1915.
He returned to service as a doctor and spent his next years with the Royal Army Medical Corps during this Great War. 208
He worked alongside Ivan Magill and Harold Gillies in Sidcup. Like Magill, Rowbotham was determined to improve the conditions for the surgeon when operating on neck and facial disfigurements, and invented alongside Magill some of the early tubes and connectors. He also pioneered the use of local and intravenous analgesia.
He was responsible for the introduction of Cyclopropane into this country. Rowbotham, Magill and the surgeon Harold Gillies advanced Plastic surgery and anaesthesia tremendously during their lifetimes.
Thomas Phillip Ayre MRCS, LRCP, FFARCS (1902-1980)
Dr Philip Ayre, a brilliant pioneering anaesthetist. It is said that he had already administered about 2000 anaesthetics before he qualified in 1933 in London.
He joined the staff of Newcastle General Hospital in 1934. Here he anaesthetised for W Wardill, to whom Sir James Spence sent all his paediatric surgical cases, which included hare lip and cleft palate deformities
Paediatric anaesthesia in those days was for the typical case, to put it in Dr Ayres’s own words,
"A protracted and sanguine battle between surgeon and anaesthetist with the poor unfortunate baby as the battlefield."
In 1937 he invented a technique which revolutionised the practice of anaesthesia for babies and children, and the Ayres’s T-piece is still universally used in paediatrics.
He spent all his working life in the Newcastle region, and for over 45 years anaesthetised at most of the city's hospitals. Thomas Philip Ayre will long be remembered in the North-east. 209
“Marriage is the operation by which a woman's vanity and a man's egotism are extracted without an anaesthetic.” 210