DOI: 10.1177/09677720241230687 ISSN: 0967-7720

Dr. Russell Davies (1914–1991): Pioneer of theatre recovery and of anaesthetics in Yugoslavia

Holly Elizabeth Webster, Maxwell John Cooper
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Dr. Russell Davies is a largely forgotten pioneer of both post-operative theatre recovery but also a key figure in the establishment of anaesthetics services in Yugoslavia in the late 1940s. Davies spent the majority of his career working as an anaesthetist at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, Sussex, England, later being promoted to the head anaesthetist role. Davies set up one of the first recovery wards in the United Kingdom at Queen Victoria Hospital, the ward being named after him in 1989. Here he became a founding member of the Guinea Pig Club, alongside Dr. Archibald McIndoe. The Guinea Pig Club was founded in 1941 to support airmen in the Second World War undergoing plastic surgery at Queen Victoria Hospital. Davies was crucial to the pastoral care of the Club, providing clinical care and guiding members over access to pensions they would have previously been denied. Little is recognised of Davies's achievement of establishing anaesthetics services in Yugoslavia. Davies and his contributions have been largely overlooked. Davies should be considered one of the foremost British anaesthetists of the 20th century.

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