Sir William Brooke O'Shaughnessy (1808-1889), MD, FRS, LRCS Ed: Chemical pathologist, pharmacologist and pioneer in electric telegraphy

J Med Biogr. 2017 Aug;25(3):186-196. doi: 10.1177/0967772015596276. Epub 2015 Sep 18.


This article reviews the life and work of Sir William O'Shaughnessy Brooke (formerly Sir William Brooke O'Shaughnessy), an Edinburgh doctor of medicine and Fellow of the Royal Society who as a young doctor in London analysed the blood and excreta of cholera victims, an action which led to the first successful use of intravenous replacement therapy. His career in India was distinguished in several spheres: chemistry, pharmacology in which he introduced cannabis indica to Europe, and in the field of electric telegraphy where he became the superintendent of telegraphs for India.

Keywords: Calcutta; Edinburgh; India; cannabis; chemistry; cholera; electric telegraphy.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • India
  • London
  • Pathologists
  • Pharmacology / history*
  • Telecommunications / history*

Personal name as subject

  • William Brooke O'Shaughnessy