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Dr. W. F. N. O’Loughlin - Sr. Surgeon of the Titanic - 1912

Dr. William Francis Norman O'Loughlin - Senior Surgeon White Star Line RMS Titanic, Died April 15, 1912, on Duty.

Dr. William Francis Norman O'Loughlin - Senior Surgeon White Star Line RMS Titanic, Died April 15, 1912, on Duty. American Medicine (May 1912) p. 238. GGA Image ID # 100ed10eaf

Dr. O'Loughlin, the Senior Surgeon of the White Star Line who went down to his death on the ill-fated Titanic, was a man whom his American and British colleagues are proud to remember, not alone for the nobility of his last hours but equally for the manner of his living.

That he was a brave man with all the courage that we like to think our heroes possess has been attested to by many survivors who tell of his cool, collected demeanor in that last terrible hour before the Titanic sunk.

Apparently, Dr. O’Loughlin knew no fear, for he paid no attention to his own danger but went from one group to another, soothing the frightened, encouraging the weak and striving in every way to prevent panic and hysteria.

As the last life-boat left the vessel, although he must have known that the end was near, he was seen standing in a companionway with the same smile on his face that had endeared him to countless travelers who knew and loved him.

And so, after all the years he had spent at sea, he met the death he had often been heard to describe as the one above all others he desired. To him the ocean was a passion, for he loved it all his life.

From almost the day of his graduation he had lived in touch with its many moods, and he never cared to leave it. It was kismet that he should have thus closed his career, for he never thought of settling down on the land.

Kind, gentle and thoughtful, Dr. O’Loughlin had all the gallantry and chivalry of the true Irish gentlemen. Although rather weakly in his early years, as soon as he completed his medical course at the  Royal College of Surgeons at Dublin he promptly went to sea as a ship surgeon and rapidly gained health and vigor.

A remarkably well-read man and by instincts a scholar, Dr. O'Loughlin exemplified all the best traditions of the cultured physician.

With the thousands of people, he came in contact with every year, it is not surprising that he became an exceedingly capable physician and surgeon. He early learned the necessity of self-reliance and this combined with a fine medical education made him one of the most efficient medical men in the transatlantic service.

Many an American traveler could tell of his skill and it never made any difference whether the call came from the poor immigrant in the steerage or the millionaire in the “Royal Suite," it was just a suffering human being.

This was enough to command his gentlest manner and most painstaking attention and skill. Truly it is a privilege to pay a tribute to such a colleague, a man who had found his niche and had filled it so well.

In Memoriam to Dr. O'Loughlin - A Brave Man, a Real Gentleman – a True Physician.

In Memoriam to Dr. O'Loughlin - A Brave Man, a Real Gentleman – a True Physician. American Medicine (May 1912) p. 239. GGA Image ID # 100f1926a8

The memorial represents AMERICAN MEDICINE’s token to a  physician whose life and death have added new luster to the noble profession of medicine.

It is not offered as a concession to sentiment, nor yet as a mere tribute to a doctor who lived and died well. But when a man goes through life making the most of himself as Dr. O'Loughlin did, honoring and respecting his calling by proving capable and efficient, and then meets the Last Summons true to his work and manhood, all of his colleagues receive a certain strength and inspiration from his memory.

And so, this memorial dedicated as it is to a true physician, will represent to a certain extent the hope that we all have, that our lives may not be in vain, that our work may bear good fruit, and that our end may have some of the same nobility and unselfishness that so evidently characterized that of Dr. O'Loughlin.

Surgeon of the Titanic.

While nations weep, and muffled bells are rung
For loved ones lost and men of shining mark,
Why should the surgeon of the fated bark,
The noble man of healing go unsung?
He to the sick, the aged and the young,
Was friend and mercy's minister. But hark!
His deeds of love, though hidden in the dark,
Are theme, perchance, of some celestial tongue.

He stood and smiled, as in his manly prime
He bade farewell to all that earth possest:
And none can say with what a faith sublime,
In that last hour of glory's mighty test.
He laid his head on ocean's icy breast,
And pass'd beyond the mysteries of Time.

Morrisville, Pa. RICHARD OSBORNE.

"Dr. O'Loughlin, Senior Surgeon of the White Star Line," in the Editorial Comment section of American Medicine, New York: American Medical Publishing Company, Complete Series, Vol. XVIII, New Series, Vol. VII, No. 5, May 1912, p.237-240

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