Harrison, Reginald
Portrait of Reginald Harrison
Reginald Harrison
Image: public domain

Reginald Harrison

Reginald Harrison (1837–1908) was a urological surgeon working at the famous St Peter’s Hospital in London, but before moving to that well-known urological centre, he ran a busy private and hospital practice in Liverpool, UK. The sailors of the Liverpool docks furnished Harrison with plenty of urethral strictures to manage (these were primarily caused by gonorrhoea infection).

After travelling to America in 1878, to watch Henry Bigelow perform his new Litholapaxy operation, he brought that technique back to Britain reporting it to the British Medical Society later that year. He was also an early advocate of removing pieces of obstructing prostate found at the time of open lithotomy; the beginnings of open prostatectomy. He was an early endoscopist, using the early Cruise endoscope to treat urethral strictures.

In October 1889, Reginald Harrison came to London to work at St Peter’s Hospital for the Stone. St Peter’s was England’s first dedicated urological hospital. Harrison replaced the popular Victorian Urologist Walter Coulson (1884 – 1889) after his sudden death. Although he was a provincial surgeon Harrison was chosen, because of his experience and profound knowledge of urology.

Reginald Harrison also took an active part in establishing the system of civilian ambulances. Whilst visiting America and Canada he noted the ambulances used there to transport casualties to the city hospitals. Due to Harrison’s efforts, the Northern Hospital in Liverpool became the first hospital in Europe to have its own ambulance. A junior doctor or medical student accompanied the driver and the ambulance was equipped with drugs, splints, dressings and surgical instruments. The average time of each journey from call to return was 18 minutes 30 seconds.

In 1907, when the Association Internationale d’Urologie (now the SIU) was founded with Felix Guyon of Paris as President, Reginald Harrison was a Vice-president (along with Dr Watson from Boston USA). Unfortunately, Harrison passed away very soon after and was replaced by Joseph Israel from Berlin.