The Pioneers

Francis John Murphy 1900-1972

Francis John Murphy was born in Oldham, South Dakota. He was educated in Alberta Canada and studied at Magill University in Montreal.

As with many other anaesthetist of the time, when the call to war came he enlisted in the American Navy in 1942.

He however suggested  the “Murphy eye” in 1941, this is the hole that you commonly see at the right tip of the endotracheal tube, between the leading edge of the bevel and the cuff. 

It was taken on by Magill  and all his design of endotracheal tubes had them. The Term Murphy's Eye is well understood today, even though the inventor is not well known in the historical circle

In 1944, Murphy was moved to Hawaii to serve for 16 months as Chief of Anaesthesia at Pearl Harbour Naval Hospital.

After the war ended, he returned to Farragut to help close the base. When Murphy left the Navy in March 1946, he had decided against returning to Detroit, because he and the family wanted to stay in the west. (Jack O'Brien, personal communication, interviews, September 2009). Murphy opened an anaesthesia practice in Spokane, moving the family there from Spirit Lake. But then, unexpectedly, Murphy received a job offer that was hard to turn down: Chief of Anaesthesia at the University of California Hospital, San Francisco. 320

 Frank Murphy retired and moved to Idaho, to live his dream and be a cattle rancher. he  was however diagnosed with carcinoma of the bladder, and died after only two years. he is buried alongside his wife in Idaho.320



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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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