Dr William James Bennett-Jones

Personal Details

CRN: 
715239
Family name: 
Bennett-Jones
Given name(s): 
William James
Familiar name: 
BJ to colleagues, Jimmy to family
Previous/other family name: 
Jones (see below)
Date of birth: 
??/??/1873
Date of death: 
14/12/1948
Place of birth: 
Coedpath, Wrexham, Wales
Nationality: 
British
Title: 
Dr
Notes: 

Post-nominals:
MD FFARCS MRCS LRCP

Education and Qualifications

General education: 

School unknown; Edinburgh University Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s): 

MRCS LRCP, 1898

Initial Fellowship and type: 

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship: 
1948
Other qualification(s): 

MBChB, Edinburgh, 1899; MD, Edinburgh, 1903

Professional Life and Career

Postgraduate career: 

All early house officer appointments, with an emphasis on his intended specialty of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and he held an appointment as a demonstrator in that department at Liverpool University until WW1. However, the financial pressures of a wife and family required that he also worked in general practice and anaesthesia, serving as honorary anaesthetist at the Royal South Hospital. Eventually he became Liverpool’s first full time specialist anaesthetist, working also as an honorary at the Royal Infirmary after WW1, and building a large private practice.

Professional interests and activities: 

His MD thesis was on hydatidiform mole, but after specialising in anaesthesia he became an expert in the intratracheal technique. He was also known for his skill at induction with open ether, although his surreptitious addition of a little chloroform to the ether bottle may have helped!

Other biographical information: 

Described as “a memorable and very Celtic man”, Bennett-Jones was Welsh speaking, religious, non-conformist, liberal and well-informed on local gossip, especially regarding anaesthetic accidents. He married Nora, a theatre nurse and sister of Dr Ashley Daly of The London Hospital, and it was her recounting of her brother’s success that encouraged him to specialise in anaesthesia. They had three children (a son became a surgeon) and, a man ahead of his time, he played a full part in their early care, a sip of brandy being the surreptitious component of his skill at getting this group off to sleep at bed-time!

Author and Sources

Author: 
Prof Tony Wildsmith
Sources and any other comments: 

Gray TC. Celtic influences on the twentieth century development of anaesthesia in Liverpool. History of Anaesthesia Society Proceedings 1993; 13: 6-11 | Obituary. BMJ 1949; 1: 35 | Ancestry.co.uk The evidence suggests that Bennett-Jones’s original surname was simply Jones, his entries in Medical Registers and Directories consistently recording him as William James Bennett JONES, but in all other sources (e.g.1911 Census) he is recorded as Bennett-Jones. Prof Jennie Hunter notes that there were so many “Dr Jones’s” in Liverpool that they often adopted an additional ‘surname’ for identification purposes!