Sir James Paget FRS, BART. (1814-1899). English surgeon. St Bartholomews. Eponymous bone disease 1877 and Pagets disease of the nipple 1874. There was also a disease of the penis and an abscess to which his name was attached.
James Paget’s father was a brewer and ship owner in Yarmouth. He followed his elder brother George Paget into medicine. (George later became Regius Professor of Physic at Cambridge University). After an apprenticeship with a local surgeon, he studied at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. During his studies he noted hard white specks in the muscle of a cadaver. He examined them under the microscope and found small encysted worms which he could not identify. They were later shown to be trichinosis. He continued his interest in pathology and was in later life involved in the visit of the German pathologist Rudolf Virchow to the UK.
He graduated in 1836 but his income was reduced as his father’s business failed. He earned money by teaching and writing. On becoming curator of the Royal College of Surgeons Anatomy Museum he published a catalogue of the specimens and some of his lectures. In his teaching he always emphasised pathological features. In 1877 he published “On a form of chronic inflammation of bones“  describing his consultations with the patient over several years and post mortem findings including histology.
His extensive private practice included Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales and he was well known among society of the day.
Reputedly a good speaker, he contributed a lot toward the scientific basis of medicine.
- Surgical Tutor article
- Wikipedia article
- Mercer Rang in an Anthology of Orthopaedics (E&S Livingstone Edinburgh. 1966) reprints 5 A4 pages of “On a form of chronic inflammation of bones” showing Paget’s clear style (perhaps tidied by his wife’s editing)
- Whonamedit.com  gives a biography and references to Paget’s articles.