The Section of Surgery was one of the original sections of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, founded in 1882. The Section of Surgery replaced the Dublin Society of Surgeons. The Section of Surgery is governed by a council and President. The section holds a series of monthly meetings from October to May where members present surgical cases.
Here is the opening address from the first meeting of the Surgical Section held on Friday, 8th December 1882:
President – John Kellock Barton, M.D., President R.C.S.I
Sectional Secretary -William Stokes, F.R.C.S.I.
The President, in opening the proceedings, remarked that the old Surgical Society of Ireland, which, for over fifty years, held its Sessions in that College, had voluntarily laid aside its separate individual existence in order to be foremost in supporting the new Academy as its Surgical Section. While the name of the Society was changed, it would, in all important and useful respects, remain the same as before, the organisation of which it formed part giving completeness to its work. In effecting the transformation little change had been made, the Council of the Society being the Council of the Section. A happy selection had been made as Secretary in the person of a gentleman whose interest in the Surgical Society was proved by his many contributions to it. For himself, he was President in virtue of his office as President of the College. Reviewing the history of the Surgical Society on the occasion of the new departure was suggestive of a funeral oration rather than a triumphant wedding song, which was more appropriate to its union with the Medical, Pathological, and Surgical Societies; and, therefore, in his Inaugural Address he preferred to institute a comparison between the system of clinical surgery pursued here, and that which obtained in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. Dublin stood second to no other city in the thoroughness with which the students were trained in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. At the same time, little was done to clear up those disputed surgical problems which could be solved only by the powerful logic of accurate statistics.
In Dublin there were in proportion to the population quite as many beds available for clinical instruction as in Paris, Berlin, or Vienna. There were fifteen hospitals in Dublin, the average number of beds in each being 130, or nearly 2,000 beds, of which 900 were available for surgical cases and available for clinical instruction, but divided among eleven different hospitals with an average of 87 beds each, and these divided amongst not less than three surgeons, leaving each an average of from 20 to 30 beds. This resulted in thorough and practical instruction; but the experience of each surgeon was limited without co-operation, and thus the Dublin School of Surgery was prevented taking its place in the van of progress. By the new Academy this defect could be met. Here, as in a common centre, might be lodged the records of the cases in all the hospitals, each case under its proper heading, and thus would be formed a most valuable collection of reliable statistics. He hoped the Council would adopt his view, and invite contributions.