George Owen Rees (1813–1889) was born in Smyrna, modern-day Turkey, to a Welsh merchant father and Italian mother. He was educated in London, Glasgow and Paris, settling in London with a successful medical practice. He was one of the first to study the chemistry of urine, and he did some original work on the nature and shape of the blood corpuscles, for which he was elected fellow at the Royal College of Physicians. In 1843 he became assistant physician at Guy’s Hospital, where he worked for 33 years. He was also the first medical officer at Pentonville Prison, and later became consulting physician to Queen Charlotte’s Lying-in Hospital, and physician-extraordinary to the Queen. Rees was a slightly neurotic character. He was appalled by the mean environment of his hospital patients and the unpleasant smells of the post-mortem room. He hated to be cold, and refused to lecture if the room was not warm enough.
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Royal College of Physicians, London
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