Dr. Charles James de Vis was born in West Bromwich, UK, qualified as a doctor in England, and migrated to Australia where he spent most of his abbreviated working life in the north Queensland town of Charters Towers.
His clinical cases and time as resident surgeon in the town district hospital are reviewed. He operated successfully on horrendously mangled limbs from accidents, compound fractures requiring amputations that today could only be performed by highly trained orthopedic specialists. Limbs that today may have been at least partially salvageable with reconstructive surgery, re-anastomosis of nerves and vessels, internal fixation and supportive medical care including intravenous fluids and antibiotics. His amputations were all reported to be recovering well post-surgery.
His career, however, was blighted by chronic ill health and premature death. He lost an eye and dislocated an arm in two accidents, frequently was on sick leave with probably malaria and died prematurely at the age of thirty-nine with ‘brain fever’ perhaps cerebral malaria.