Thomas Cecil Gray, CBE, KCSG, was a pioneering British anaesthetist. He was born in Liverpool in 1913 and educated at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire. At the age of 18, he joined the order of monks at the Benedictine college of Ampleforth, but after two months it became clear that this was not the vocation for him and he returned to Liverpool to pursue medicine, qualifying in 1937.
He began a career in General Practice, giving anaesthetics for his patients when they needed surgery. Anaesthesia became his main interest. Returning to Liverpool University in 1947 as Reader, he established the Department of Anaesthesia, and introduced tubocurarine with mechanical lung ventilation. This became known as the ‘Liverpool technique’, based on the triad of unconsciousness, analgesia and muscle relaxation, with a markedly lower complication rate than deep inhalational anaesthesia.
A foundation member of Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1948, he served as Dean in 1964. Gray was the editor of the British Journal of Anaesthesia from 1948 to 1964. He was President of the Section of Anaesthetics of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1955 and the first anaesthetist to be awarded the Sir Arthur Sims Commonwealth Travelling Fellowship by the RCS (England). An active council member of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, Gray served as treasurer and as president (1957–1959). In 1959, he was awarded a personal chair in anaesthesia at the University of Liverpool and was made Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in 1970, retiring in 1976, but continued to give occasional lectures.
Gray was appointed CBE in 1976 and in 1982 was honoured by Pope John Paul II with the membership of the Order of St Gregory the Great as a Knight Commander. In 2007 the Liverpool Echo included him in its list of the 800 greatest Liverpudlians, as part of Liverpool's 800th anniversary.
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Royal College of Anaesthetists
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