Thomas Buzzard was born in London, the son of G. Buzzard, solicitor. He was educated at King’s College School and, after being apprenticed to a doctor, entered King’s College Hospital, where he became house surgeon to Sir William Fergusson. In 1854 he helped to combat a severe epidemic of cholera in Soho and, in 1855, having qualified, he joined the British medical staff with the Ottoman army. He was present at the siege of Sebastopol and acted as special correspondent in the Crimea for the Daily News. For his services, he received the Crimean medal with clasp, the Order of the Medjidie, and the Turkish war medal. On returning, he continued his medical studies and graduated as M.B, with the gold medal in surgery, in 1857.
During the next six years, spent in general practice in London, he augmented his income by contributing to the Daily News and reporting hospital operations for the Lancet. This latter work brought him into touch with Hughlings Jackson and the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic and, having embarked on consultant practice in 1863, he became physician and, in time, consulting physician to this Hospital. Indeed, it was as a neurologist that his fame was established. Although he wrote a book on The Simulation of Hysteria by Organic Disease (1891) and articles on neurology and allied subjects for Quain’s Dictionary of Medicine, he was pre-eminent as a clinical observer of physical signs and reactions. Buzzard had many interests outside his profession. A keen Volunteer, he belonged to the Queen’s Westminster Rifles from 1860 to 1867. He was fond of travel, particularly by sea, and he was a good water-colour painter, with many friends among the leading artists of his day. He married in 1869 Isabel, daughter of Joseph Wass, and had two daughters and four sons. One of his sons was Sir Farquhar Buzzard, Bart, F.R.C.P, who followed in his footsteps as physician to the National Hospital. He died in London, having continued in practice till the age of seventy-nine, and published in his eighty-fifth year a book on his experiences in the Crimea.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1919; B.M.J., 1919]