Dr Thomas Henry Stewart Burns

Personal Details

Dr Thomas Henry Stewart Burns BM BCh MA FFARCS 

Known as: Stewart

30/06/1921 to 27/08/1989

Place of birth: Formby, Lancashire

Nationality: British

CRN: 543824

Education and qualifications

General education

St Paul's School

Primary medical qualification(s)

BM BCh  1946 Keeble College, Oxford and Guy’s Hospital, London.

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

MA 1946 Oxford. DA 1948


Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Dr Burns was usually know as Stewart. He writes in his self-submitted bibliographic college form that he was inspired to take up anaesthesia after observing Sir Robert Macintosh administer anaesthesia in 1943. Following graduation in 1946 during  WWII he Joined the RAF medical branch. Initially he was a resident anaesthetist at Guy’s Hospital, fully joining the RAF in 1948 until 1950 as a full time anaesthetist, emerging with the rank of of Squadron Leader. Following this in 1950 he held a post of Research Fellow at Guy’s Hospital. In 1954 a  short spell as a consultant followed at the Royal Northern Hospital in London. His final appointment was to the Anaesthetic Department at St. Thomas’s in 1955 where he remained until his retirement in 1982.

Professional interests and activities

Throughout his career, Stewart continued his initial interest in non-explosive volatile anaesthetic agents, having received a grant from the Medical Research Council. He was appointed the secretary of the MRC committee developing and investigating the newer non-explosive volatile agents. He developed, built and trialed a new Trilene inhaler suitable for use by midwives based on the principles of a car’s carburettor. The Burn’s Inhaler remained popular for several years. During his career he published several research  papers and book chapters. He was interested in undergraduate teaching and encouraged many students to consider the specialty. According to his obituary he was described as often holding strong and often unorthodox views about anaesthesia, but his discussions were always stimulating and original.    

Other biographical information

Stewart’s main interests outside of medicine included rowing, train travel, and music. Whilst at university he was President of the University Boat Club in 1943. Due to the war years the boat race was not officially contested, but an unofficial closely contested race occurred at Sanford on the Thames, Oxford just beating  Cambridge. He was also president of St. Thomas’s Boat Club and member of Leander with regular attendance at Henley Regatta.
With his wife they were great train travelers and undertook many of the long train journeys across the world. A devout Christian he was a Church Warden and chaired an ecumenical bible club in Ealing. In his BMJ obituary he was described as kind, charming and generous. Having retired to the Isle of Man he regularly travelled to the mainland to attend musical concerts.
In his self-submitted biographical  form to the college,  Stewart entered his wife’s  profession as “my wife” in capital letters.  Stewart passed away aged 68 years at Ramsey, Isle of Man in 1989.  He was survived by his wife Joan, whom he married in 1945, and two children Adrian and Anne.

Author and sources

Author: Innes Simon Chadwick

Sources and comments:

Information obtained from Stewart’s  self-submitted biographical college “Boulton Form” dated 1988. Any further information would be welcome.
Obituary British Medical Journal. 1990 BMJ Vol 300 p393-4
GMC Register 1947 Accessed on line Ancestry.com February 2022
Bibliographic information verified on line Ancestry.com February 2022.