Sir Astley Paston Cooper 1768-1841

Cooper was born in 1768 in the village of Brooke Norfolk. He was the son of a clergyman. A wild but charismatic child, Astley was born in 1768 and spent a period being fostered out to a nearby farming family.

The story went that when he saw a foster brother run over by a cart, his femur shattered and all around him panicking, Astley saved the boy's life by calmly pressing on his femoral artery until a surgeon could arrive.

This, went the tale, set him on the road to becoming a surgeon.273It is likely however his uncle was the main influence.

At the age of 16 he was sent to London to study under Henry Cline at St Thomas's hospital. He attended lectures given by the influential surgeon and lecturer, John Hunter at St Georges Hospital. His uncle William Cooper was also a surgeon at Guys, when he died Astley took over his position at Guys. Cooper lived at Gadebridge House in the market town of Hemel Hempstead.

Astley Cooper became very famous in his day as the leading surgeon of the time. He carried out a hind leg amputation and was present at Hoo Loos unsuccessful operation.

He also carried out the very first ligation of the abdominal aorta in 1817, assisted by Aston Key (who 14 years later operated on Hoo Loo assisted by Cooper).

The patient, Charles Huston unfortunatly died 40 hours after the operation. The surgery was a success however, no doubt the patient would have died sooner if Cooper had not carried out the procedure.
He eventually became Surgeon to the Royal family and removed an infected cyst from King George IV.

He would be termed today as an orthopaedic surgeon, or by others a Vascular surgeon (the approach to the external iliac artery are named after him) but as was the case in that era, they did not limit themselves to just orthopaedics or vascular, they were all general surgeons.





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