William Osler Abbott was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on
July 26, 1902. He was the son of a biologist, Alexander C.
Abbott and Georgina Picton Osler, a niece of Sir William Osler.
W. Osler Abbott, nicknamed "Pete", married Lucy Waldo in 1928.
They had three children, Thomas William Osler, Ann Gatewood,
and Lucy Featherstone. On September 10, 1943, Abbott died of
myelogenous leukemia at Waquoit, Massachusetts.
Abbott received his A.B. in 1925 and his M.D. in 1928 from the
University of Pennsylvania. He then served as an intern at
the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and from1931
to 1934, he had a part time affiliation with the Department
of Pharmacology. Abbott then became a member of the Gastro Intestinal
Clinic at Penn. At Penn, Abbott rose from Medical Fellow (1930-1931)
to Instructor (1931-1937),then Associate (1937-1941) and finally,
in 1941, he became an Assistant Professor of Medicine. In the
following year, Abbott entered the U.S. Army with the rank of
major. He was diagnosed as suffering from leukemia and then
discharged. Abbott spent the remaining months of his life in
Most of Abbott's professional work and published writings concern
his work with small intestinal intubation. He began to work
with T. Grier Miller at Penn in 1930. In 1934, they developed
the Miller Abbott Tube, a double lumen intestinal drainage tube
for relief of distention. Abbott also worked with Arthur Joy
Rawson and created, in 1937, the Abbott Rawson Tube, a double barrelled
gastroenterostomy tube for use in postoperative care.
Abbott was a member of several professional organizations including
the Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Clinical
and Climatological Association, the American Gastroenterological
Association, the Association of American Physicians, the Pathological
Society of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Physiological
Society. he was elected to fellowship in the College of Physicians
of Philadelphia in 1934.