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1949 Beginnings ...

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In the spring of 1949, Tom Chapman, Henry Stewart and John Swinney met with Tom Lane at the Meath Hospital in Dublin. This two-day session was the brainchild of Tom Chapman and, in his own words:

We were a small group of surgeons meeting to discuss punch resection of the prostate because, at larger meetings, it appeared to be a neglected subject ..."

Chapman, Stewart and Lane had at that time been “punching prostates” for more than ten years and so treated 80% of their patients with bladder outlet obstruction.

The Four Founder Members

** Image of Tom Lane reproduced courtesy of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

In Newcastle, William Wardill had developed similar skills with the Thompson cold punch after visiting the Urology Section at the Mayo Clinic with Tom Lane in the mid-1930’s. Wardill was a remarkable surgeon and, on his return to Newcastle, he set up a Department of Prostatic Surgery.  Punching prostates was almost the only urological operation he did.  Without doubt, Lane would have invited him to the foundation meeting of the Punch Club, but Wardill refused to work in the NHS and resigned.  John Swinney then returned from the USA to fill his post at Newcastle General Hospital.

Subsequent History of the Club

The group decided to hold a meeting each year at a member’s centre. Everything was to be informal, with no minutes or records.  At the dinner, usually held on the first evening, there were to be no speeches but, until his sudden death at a comparatively early age, Tom Chapman proposed a characteristically humorous and witty vote of thanks.

The membership was enlarged by inviting others who were known to use the punch: Ronnie Reid (Colchester), Joey Robinson (St Thomas’s, who started using the punch in the late 1930’s), Walter Mimpriss (St Thomas’s), Cosbie Ross (Liverpool), Jerry Fergusson (St Peter’s & St Paul’s) and Thomas Moore (Manchester) became members over the next few years.

After ten years or so, the membership was gradually enlarged and, although some of the later members had an interest in using the prostatic punch, the Club reflected the widespread adoption of electroresection (TURP) and gradually became a general urological one. It has remained so to this day.

Click here to see the prostatic punch in more detail in the Instruments & Equipment Room or here to view the video/cartoon of the punch prostatectomy in five short sections.

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