Department History

The Medical University of South Carolina, the oldest medical school in the South, was chartered in 1823 and admitted its first medical student class in 1824.

From its beginning until the Civil War, all students of The Medical College were required to write a thesis in order to receive their medical degrees. These papers give us a valuable insight into the medical practices of the time as well as the importance of urological diseases to the populace and the medical profession.

There was no Department of Urology at The Medical College of South Carolina throughout the 19th century. There were, however, lectures on urologic topics, as part of the general surgical curriculum, and several types of urologic surgeries were performed, some in the early 1800’s. By the mid-1830’s, two student graduation theses discussed surgical procedures performed, locally, for bladder stone removal and destruction. These procedures were similar to the practice of surgeons in London and Paris.

The history of The Department of Urology is closely related to the medical community of Charleston, since it was the custom to use private practice physicians as Medical College faculty from 1824 until, in some specialties, as late as the 1960's and to use Roper Hospital facilities for patient care and training.

By the 1890’s, there were records of frequent genitourinary surgical procedures, but no evidence that urology existed as a separate discipline. In 1887, Dr. J. J. Edwards is listed as a Lecturer on Syphilis and Genito-Urinary Disease. Dr. J. J. Ravenel, an early Chairman of the Department of Urology, felt that Urology, as a distinct entity, began in 1907 with the adoption of the cystoscope in routine clinical practice by Dr. T. Prioleau Whaley of Charleston. The fact that Dr. Whaley is listed as Professor of Genito-Urinary Surgery in the 1913 to 1914 Medical College of South Carolina catalogue is an early example of the power of technology in shaping the existence of a specialty.

In 1914, Dr E. C. Baynard became the first Charleston physician to limit his practice to urology, and subsequently was appointed the first chairman of urology at The Medical College of South Carolina. Dr. Baynard remained chairman until 1928 when he was followed by Dr. J. J. Ravenel, who remained chair of the Division of Urology until 1955. In the 1956 catalogue, urology is first listed as a separate department under the direction of Dr. Paul W. Sanders.

Kenneth M. Lynch Jr. became the first full-time, university-based professor of urology in 1954, and was promoted to chairman in 1966. Dr. Lynch died in 1974, and Dr. W. R. Turner, Jr. served as acting chairman until the arrival of Dr. Stephen N. Rous in 1975.

Dr. Stephen N. Rous assumed the role of chair in 1975 and served with distinction until 1988. Dr. William R. Turner, Jr. became acting chairman again in 1988 and chairman in 1991.

During his tenure, Dr. Turner served as secretary and then president of the American Urological Association. He was chair of the department until his retirement in 2000. Dr. Thomas A. Kirkland then served as acting chairman until April 2002 when Dr. Thomas E. Keane began his tenure, which has continued to the present time. Under Dr. Keane, the department has expanded from two to twelve full-time faculty, with all subspecialties of urology represented.