Nebraska Academy of Sciences


Date of this Version



Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, vol. 5 (1978)


Copyright by the author.


Percivall Pott was born in London, England 26 December 1713. His father died when he was four, leaving Mrs. Pott with Percivall and a daughter by a previous marriage. Pott's education was thereafter financed by one of Mrs. Pott's cousins, Dr. Wilco x, Bishop of Roches· ter. Although Pott became proficient in classical literature, and although Dr. Wilcox hoped that he would choose a career in theology, he chose a career in surgery instead and was bound as an apprentice to Dr. Nourse, a surgeon at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1729. He spent 58 years at this hospital, resigning from the post of Surgeon in July 1787. One and one-half years later, after visiting sick patients on horseback in cold weather, he developed pneumonia and died within a few days, having a4nost reached his 75th birthday.

Pott was not only innovative in his surgical practice but also was an excellent writer. He published articles on many subjects, including treatment of fracture of the fibula (Pott's fracture), tumors, hernia congenita, fistula Iachrymalis, head injuries, hydrocele, tubercular spine, the need for amputation of limbs in certain cases, cataract surgery, and fistulae; one of his most famous observations was the development of carcinoma of the scrotum among young chimney sweepers in London.