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XXI Congreso Nacional de la Sociedad Española de Neurocirugía
Barcelona, 17-19 May 2017
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Victor Horsley and his Colleagues at Queen Square- a Model of Collegiality

E.R. Laws, Jr.

Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.

Victor Horsley is widely recognized as one of the major founders of the special field of Neurosurgery. His intellect, dedication, surgical skills and enthusiasm for advancing the neurosciences are unquestioned.

He was appointed Surgeon in Chief at the National Hospital for the Paralyzed and Epileptic at Queen Square, London in 1886 at the age of 28. Although at times a difficult personality, his ability to interact with his colleagues in a collegial fashion was an essential feature of the advances he made, and the building of his reputation as a successful and pioneering neurosurgeon. The neurologists with whom he interacted, who referred him patients for surgery, were the shining lights of academic neurology, responsible for the definition of numerous syndromes and for the localization of neurological function. They included Charles Sherrington, Hughlings Jackson, David Ferrier, William Gowers, Howard Henry Tooth, S. A. Kinnier Wilson, Gordon Holmes, Marcus Gunn, and R. Foster Kennedy. Horsley’s active interaction with these and other individuals on the faculty at Queen Square were critical factors of his success in developing the field of neurosurgery, which he exemplified.

Although Sir Victor never actually established a “school” of neurosurgery, he interacted regularly while at Queen Square with Charles Ballance, who was an advisor, and with his colleagues Percy Sargent, Donald Armour, and Wilfred Trotter who also worked with him at Queen Square.

The stimulating environment that this venerable institution provided serves as an example of true collegiality and its critical importance in advancing the care of patients with neurological diseases.

Neurocirugía (English edition)

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