Michael Underwood (1737-1820)
Michael Underwood was born on September 29, 1737. He had a good education and attended West Monsley School and then Kensington School in London. He was a house pupil at St. George’s Hospital for several years under the supervision of the King George II’s surgeon Sir Caesar Hawkins. After study in Paris, he established a practice in Cavendish Square, specializing in obstetrics, and was appointed surgeon to the British Lying-in Hospital.
In 1784, after receiving his M.D. from a Scottish University, he was elected as a member of the Royal College of Physicians as a licentiate in midwifery. In 1784, he published A Treatise on the Diseases of Children, with General Directions for the Management of Infants from Birth. The book brought him fame, and went through 10 editions in the next 60 years. It was also published in France, Germany, and America. He is credited with the first published description of several diseases, including sclerema neonatorum, infantile paralysis, and what may have been the first accounts of congenital heart disease and Rh sensitization.
Underwood died in Knightsbridge on March 14, 1820 at the age of 184.
Source: Michael Underwood, MD (1737–1820): physician‐accoucheur of London, by P. M. Dunn, Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed, 91:F150-F152, March 2006.