Frank Thomas Paul 1851–1941
Frank Thomas Paul was born at Pentney, Norfolk, England and educated at the Yarmouth Grammar School. In 1869 he entered Guy's Hospital, and qualified MRCS in 1873. After a year as resident house-surgeon he left London for Liverpool, where he practiced for the rest of his professional life. In 1875 he was made the first resident medical officer at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary. He became, successively, pathologist, lecturer in dental surgery, surgeon to the Southern and Stanley Hospitals, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence, assistant and later full surgeon to the Royal Infirmary—in short, he became one of the leading surgeons of his day.
In 1891, Paul wrote a paper on a method of performing an inguinal colotomy,1 and in 1895 reported a number of cases, which are the subject of this Classics presentation. Colostomy had been an established procedure for approximately 50 years, an extraperitoneal approach that had been advocated by Amussat (Dis Colon Rectum 1893;26:483–487), a relatively safe procedure since the peritoneal cavity was not breached. Paul's operation, often performed for colonic obstruction, uses “Paul's tube” to drain the feces away to a bottle at the side of the bed, avoiding contamination of the wound. His operation of exteriorization of the colon antedated that of von Mikulicz (Dis Colon Rectum 1890;23:513–521), who achieved eponymous immortality for the extra-abdominal resection.
While Paul did very little writing, he was considered a masterful technician. Lord Moynihan of Leeds often visited his theater to observe, stating that Paul was the “neatest operator he had ever seen.” At a presentation to the Liverpool Medical Institution, Mr. Frank Jeans stated, “Paul, operating in the heyday of his manual efficiency always made me think that he did with his hands what Pavlova did with her feet, only Paul's work was much more useful.”
Paul retired to grow orchids and indulge in his hobby of photography. He died on January 17, 1941, in his ninetieth year.