Atthill, Lombe (1827–1910), obstetrician and gynaecologist, was born 3 December 1827 in Ardess Glebe, Co. Fermanagh, youngest of ten surviving children of the Rev. William Atthill (qv), rector (1818–47) of Magheraculmony, Co. Fermanagh, and Henrietta Margaret Eyre Atthill, eldest daughter of George Maunsell, dean of Leighlin. He was educated at Maidstone Grammar School, Kent (1839–41). Apprenticed to Maurice Collis in Dublin (1844), he entered TCD (1844), graduated BA and MB (1849) and MD (1865), and became LRCSI (1847). He worked, unpaid, at the charitable dispensary in Fleet St., and as an assistant demonstrator at the Park Street School of Medicine, Dublin (1847–8). Employed (1848–50) as a dispensary doctor at Geashill, King's Co. (Offaly), he was appointed assistant physician at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin (1851–4), and subsequently engaged in private practice.
Appointed in 1868 to the Adelaide Hospital as the first gynaecologist employed by a general hospital in Dublin, he was one of the first in Ireland to perform successfully an ovariotomy (1868). He conducted an extensive clinic; his lectures, published in the Medical Press & Circular, were subsequently reprinted as a textbook, Clinical lectures on diseases peculiar to women (1871; 7th ed., 1883; published in the USA, it was translated into French and Spanish, 1882). As master (1875–82) of the Rotunda Hospital, he introduced many improvements. He developed gynaecology as a speciality, improved facilities for out-patients, and reorganised the extern maternity services. He introduced new sanitary practices (including an ample supply of water on every ward and insistence that staff wash their hands with carbolic soap before and after examining patients), replaced illiterate attendants with trained and salaried nursing staff, and supplied them with washable uniforms and free laundry services.
Elected fellow (1860) of the (R)K&QCPI, registrar (1860–68, 1890–1903), censor (1868), examiner in midwifery, vice-president, and president (1888, 1889), he was the college's representative to the General Medical Council (1888–1903); he was president of the Dublin Obstetrical Society (1874–6), of the obstetric section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (1884–5, 1895–7) and of the RAMI (1900–03), hon. fellow of the British Gynaecological Society and the Edinburgh Obstetrical Society, and hon. member of the Obstetrical Society of Boston, USA.
He retired in 1898. He wrote Recollections of a long professional life: 1844 to 1904 (1910); first appearing in the British Medical Journal, i (Jan. 1910), and Recollections of an Irish doctor (1911), which provide an interesting account of Fermanagh before the great famine and vivid descriptions of his experiences as a doctor. Atthill lived at Monkstown Castle, Monkstown, Co. Dublin. He died 14 September 1910 at Strood, Kent, and is buried at Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin. He married first (1850) Elizabeth Dudgeon (d. 1870); they had one son and nine daughters. In 1872 he married Mary Duffey (née Christie), whose son, Sir George Duffey, was president of the RCPI. A portrait of Atthill by Sarah Purser (qv) hangs in the hall of the RCPI.