Dr. David John Wilkinson

Dr. David John Wilkinson

Dr. Wilkinson was born on February 18, 1948, in Pontypridd, South Wales, and received his L.R.C.P., M.R.C.S. in 1971 and his M.B., B.S. in 1972. He became a Fellow of the Faculty of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Surgeons of England, in 1976. He is married to Norma Wilkinson and they have three children, Fiona, Stuart and Andrew, and one grandson, Jared.

He trained as a Senior House Officer, Anaesthesia, at Whipps Cross Hospital, London, where he remained on staff for over a year before assuming the duties of Registrar and Senior Registrar at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, where he spent the majority of his career as a Consultant in Anaesthesia. However, he had an early love for Western Australia that continues to the present, spending 1979 in Princess Margaret and Royal Perth Hospitals in Perth, Australia. He completed a WLM Fellowship in 1989.

His prodigious productivity during his decades-long academic career includes well over 200 presentations with over a third specifically related to the history of anesthesia. The majority of his numerous book chapters and 43 peer-reviewed articles are historical in content. His most famous work is the remarkable chapter on the “History of Trauma Anesthesia” in the Textbook of Trauma, Anesthesia and Critical Care. Significant eponymous lectureships include:

  •  The DRC Wilson Memorial Lecture. Australian Society of Anaesthesia (WA Section), Perth, Australia. “The History of Obstetric Anaesthesia,” 1979.
  • The Lewis H. Wright Memorial Lecture. American Society of Anesthesiologists, Orlando, Florida. “Barts, the Blues, Books and Beyond,” 2002.
  • The Blessed Chloroform Lecture. Sixth ISHA, Cambridge, U.K. “Oh Wad Some Power the Giftie Gie Us to See Ourse’s as Others See Us!” 2005.
  • The Victor Goldman Lecture. Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, London, U.K. “Dr. Goldman: A Life of Service,” 2006.
  • The GE Healthcare Lecture. Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, London, U.K. “From Servant to Master?” 2007.
  • The Weinbren Memorial Lecture. Annual Meeting of the South African Society of Anaesthesia, Sun City, South Africa. “Why We Are Where We Are Today: The History of Mistakes,” 2007.

Since 1994, Dr. Wilkinson has the honorary appointment of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London Lecturer in the History of Medicine to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Perhaps less known are his decades-long efforts in the archives committees of both the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland and the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

However, despite all of his academic productivity, perhaps his most singular contribution to the history of anesthesia is his leadership in the organized study of medical history. As a longstanding council member of the History of Anaesthesia Society of Great Britain (1886-1993), he participated as a key figure in almost every international and many national conferences including

  •  The 11th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists, 1996, Sydney, Australia.
  •  The Fourth International Symposium of the History of Anaesthesia, 1997, Hamburg, Germany.
  •  The 9th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists, 1988, Washington, USA.
  •  The 12th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists, 2000, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
  •  The 5th International Symposium of the History of Anaesthesia, 2001, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
  •  The 6th International Symposium on the History of Anaesthesia, 2005, Cambridge, U.K.

Dr. Wilkinson is currently the Immediate Past President of the History of Anaesthesia Society. His work in this organization and publication of the History of Anaesthesia Society Proceedings from 1986-1993 have preserved this scholarship for future generations. It would be impossible to estimate the influence of his hearty presence at these national and international conferences on his senior, contemporary and junior colleagues.

His enthusiasm for learning, his infectious wit, and true archival scholarship in advancing the study of the history of anesthesia make him truly worthy of this high award.