A convenient “inconvenience”: The eponymous legacy of Sir William Richard Gowers (1845–1915)

Toodayan, Nadeem (2015) A convenient “inconvenience”: The eponymous legacy of Sir William Richard Gowers (1845–1915). Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 1-33. doi:10.1080/0964704X.2015.1116280

Author Toodayan, Nadeem
Title A convenient “inconvenience”: The eponymous legacy of Sir William Richard Gowers (1845–1915)
Journal name Journal of the History of the Neurosciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1744-5213
Publication date 2015-12-14
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/0964704X.2015.1116280
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Start page 1
End page 33
Total pages 33
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract A century since his passing, the legacy of the great Victorian clinical neurologist, Sir William Richard Gowers (1845–1915), remains traceable to students and practitioners of medicine worldwide through eponymous medical terms named in his honor. Popular designations like “Gowers’ sign” continue to lead curious minds to learn more about the pioneering neurologist’s lifework and influence, and yet Gowers himself was not fond of medical eponyms. Memorably remarking that eponyms were an educational “inconvenience” in medicine, Gowers was apt to disfavor the system in the very same lecture in which he reportedly first referred to the spinal cord fasciculus that later took his name. This article will examine Gowers’ own use of eponyms alongside the eponymous medical terms named for him, and, in the process, will show how Gowers’ “inconvenience” may be of great service to the historically inclined modern clinician today.
Keyword Sir William Richard Gowers (1845–1915)A Manual of Diseases of the Nervous System
Medical eponyms
Gowers eponyms
Gowers’ sign
Gowers’ tract
origins of Gowers sign
origins of Gowers’ tract
the Gowers centenary
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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