Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thomas, George Harold 譚嘉士 (1912-EOP)

updated December 21, 2013

Hong Kong's First Locally Trained MD.

Hong Kong nlt.1907. FRCS 1961 (first elected without examination, and first presentation ceremony took place outside the College premises in London).

HONG KONG. Diocesan Boys’ School; LMSHK 1912 [1] (one of the last licentiate of HKCMC); MBBS May 30, 1914 [2] (the only medical graduate in 1914), MD 1920 (HK) (first HKU MD graduate). House Surgeon, Nethersole and Ho Miu Ling Hospitals 1912. Resident surgeon, Tung Wah Hospital 1912. Registered to practice Hong Kong August 7, 1914 through EOP. Assistant Medical Officer, Government Civil Hospital and Mental Hospital 1928. Medical Officer, Mental Hospital and Tsan Yuk Hospital 1937. Superintendent designated, Tung Wah Hospital 1937-38, in charge of the hospital during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong 1941-45. Medical Officer, Queen Mary Hospital. Acting Director of Medical Services 1947-49 (first Chinese appointed to the position). Lecturer in Pharmacology, Vaccination and Anesthetics 1915-18, 1936-37, Obstetrics 1919-21 Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 1922, Ophthalmology 1925, Mental Diseases 1938, HKU. Authorized medical practitioner to sign medical certificates of death 1912-14. Honor: King's Silver Jubilee Medal 1935; MBE June 12, 1941; OBE 1946; Hon LLD, HKU 1961.

m. [s.n.]. Had issues: 1. Osler Thomas; 2. Huxley Thomas; 3. Kelvin Thomas; 4. Barclay Thomas.

[Thomas was Chinese by descent but was given a British name when he attended the Diocesan Boys School.]

[No one should miss this anecdote, told by Thomas himself, about the MBBS degree that he received from HKU in 1914 (which I've found from the book "The Life and Times of Sir Kai Ho Kai"):
Three licentiates of the College of Medicine including me were admitted as advanced students eligible to sit for the degree of MBBS after a period of tow years of further study at the University. At the end of the prescribed two years, seven candidates presented themselves for the Final Degree Examinations. Lavish preparations, including a banquet, had been made for the first degree conferring ceremony in which the Chancellor and the Vic-Chancellor would officiate; but alas!, it appeared that none of the seven aspirants had been found worthy of the degree. The University authorities, faced with an awkward situation, apparently decided to produce one graduate for the ceremony according to plan. I believe they selected me on the mistaken assumption that I, who had already been holding the Government post of Resident Medical Officer to the Tung Wah Hospital since 1912, would probably be the one calculated to do the least harm to the community. I firmly believe that this is the true story how I, in May, 1914, obtained the coveted but undeserved distinction of being the first graduate of Hong Kong University.]
[1] LMSHK was the qualification awarded to graduates of the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese HKCMC (1887-1912). Holders of LMSHK were not authorized to practice as private practitioners until July 8, 1908 [a]. From that day on they were permitted to practice as "exempted persons", but not to be listed in the Medical Register and not be addressed officially as "Dr".
[a] There were hospital appointments, more particularly at missionary or charitable hospitals, prior to 1908. For instance, Kwan King-leung 關景良, LMSHK 1893, was permitted to practice at the Alice Memorial Hospital 1893.
[2] HKU had at the time but a single faculty of Medicine.

Selected bibliography: Choa, G.H., The Life and Times of Sir Kai Ho Kai, Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1981, pp.75-76. The Hong Kong Government Gazette, August 7, 1914, #301; May 6, 1935, #362; May 9, 1941, #558. Hutcheon, Robin, Bedside Manner: Hospital and Health Care in Hong Kong, Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1999, pp.16-17. Supplement to the London Gazette, June 12, 1941, p.3297.

temp. notes: p.303


Post a Comment