Robert Collins Ireland

Biography of Robert Collins

Robert was born in 1800 at Rock Lodge, Desertcreat Parish, Co. Tyrone, Ireland. He was a son of James Collins and Martha Clarke of Cookstown, Tyrone. Robert should not be confused with his first cousin of the same name who graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1833 and practiced at Belfast.

While at Glasgow, Robert studied under Samuel Labatt MD, who had been Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, Ireland in 1814-1821. Upon graduation he joined that hospital as assistant master under John Pentland, MD. Robert became a Licentiate of King's and Queen's College of Physicians of Ireland (LK&QCPI) in 1824.

With Dr. Pentland's death on 26 August 1826, 26 year old Robert Collins, MD, became Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, which he held for his seven year term until 1833. He was greatly influenced by his mother's brother, Dr. Joseph Clarke of Dublin. Clarke had been Master of the Rotunda Hospital in 1786 to 1793 and was a pioneer in the study and treatment of childbirth fevers and complications. At that time many mothers, particularly with their first child or if they were past 35 years old, died as a result of childbirth. During his tenure at the Rotunda Hospital, Robert expanded on Dr. Clarke's methods and saw the death rate of mothers and infants at the hospital, cut to a quarter of what it had been five years earlier. In 1833 Robert went into private practice focused on the safe birthing of children, and in addition wrote and published a number of books outlining his medical techniques.

Robert married Barbara Clarke, daughter of Dr. Joseph Clarke and Isabella Cleghorn, around 1824 and by her had five children of whom only Joshua is known to have had children. Barbara died suddenly in 1833 at Dublin.

In 1839 Robert was made an M.D. (honoris causa) by Trinity College, Dublin at the spring convocation and on 28 October of that year was made a Fellow of the K&QCPI. He was treasurer of the K&QCPI during the years 1842-47, and its President in 1847-48, the famine years. About 1861-67 he had a residence at Gibbstown house near Ardsallagh Castle, Navan, Co. Meath. He died at 4 Ely Place, Dublin on 11 December 1868.

[Biography was submitted by John M Collins on 23 February 2010.]


Robert Collins
Born 1800, Desertcreat Parish, co. Tyrone, Ireland.
Died 11 December 1868.
GU Degree: MD, 1822;
University Link: Graduate
Occupation categories: physicians
Record last updated: 22nd Aug 2013

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