Surgeon Thomas Price Lea
? – 23 Nov 1835 [Malta]
24 July 1804 Hospital Mate.
7 Aug 1806 Assistant Surgeon 1st Regiment of Dragoon Guards.
4 May 1809 Assistant Surgeon 12th Regiment of Dragoon Guards.
15 Nov 1810 Assistant Surgeon 4th Royal Veteran Battalion.
6 July 1815 Assistant Surgeon 5th Royal Veteran Battalion.
28 Mar 1816 Surgeon Cape Regiment.
25 Dec 1816 Surgeon Royal African Corps.
16 Apr 1820 Reduced to half-pay on reduction of the Royal African Corps.
19 Feb 1829 Recalled from half-pay Royal African Corps to fill the vacancy in the 5th (Northumberland) Regiment of Foot created by the resignation of Surgeon Charles Waring on 11 Dec 1828.
27 Oct 1834 Arrived with his regiment.
23 Nov 1835 Died at Malta of hydrothorax and a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
On 3 August 1835, while on horseback, Surgeon Lea was seized with a severe pain in his loins, which induced syncope. Assistant surgeon John O'Brien 7th Foot, who attended him through out his illness, placed him in a warm bath and gave him calomel with James Powder.
Surgeon Lea's back pain persisted; in September 1835, the pain radiated towards his left groin and deprived him of rest and appetite. It was alleviated by constant use of acetate of morphine given internally as well as externally. Blisters, which were kept up discharging, proved of no benefit. Lea then began to experience difficulty with his breathing with symptoms resembling spasmodic asthma. Surgeon Whitfield Charles Tomlins OMD, bled Surgeon Lea during the absence on leave of Mr O'Brien.
In October Lea became so breathless, and his legs and feet so oedematous, that Inspector of Hospitals Clarke John Frederick suspected the development of a pleural effusion. On 23 November, Surgeon Lea was seized with a severe pain on the right side of his back and he suddenly expired. A post mortem revealed a hydrothorax and a burst abdominal aortic aneurysm about 3 inches above its bifurcation into the common iliac artery. The adjoining vertebra had been exceedingly eroded from the pressure of the aneurysmal sac, and contributed to his excruciating back pain.1
Surgeon Thomas Price Lea aged 48 years was buried at the Floriana Cemetery on 25 November 1835.
- Entry No: 2654. Johnston, W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol. 1. London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1968.
- 1TNA:WO 334/12, Annual medical report 5th Foot for 1835.