Thomas, Hugh Owen

Thomas, Hugh Owen
SUBJECT AREA: Medical technology
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b. 1833 Anglesey, North Wales
d. 6 January 1891 Liverpool, England
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Welsh orthopaedic surgeon, a founder of modern orthopaedics and inventor of Thomas's splints.
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Eldest son of a bone-setter, he studied at University College London, Edinburgh and Paris and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1857. Three years later he commenced practice in Liverpool, but he was never appointed to the staff of a hospital. Over the next twenty years he not only developed his own approach to orthopaedic practice, but also promoted a number of advances in other aspects of medicine such as epilepsy.
Of a mechanical (as well as musical) bent of mind, he had his own workshop and over some twenty years developed his pattern of splints for fractures. In 1877 Rushton Parker, later Professor of Surgery at Liverpool, expressed his admiration of the splints. This led to the publication of their details and shortly after to their wide acceptance.
Thomas's nephew Robert Jones was collaborating with him on a book on orthopaedics at the time of his death and went on to continue the tradition of what has been called the Liverpool School of orthopaedics.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Honorary MD University of St Louis c. 1880.
Bibliography
1875, Diseases of the Hip, Knee and Ankle-joints.
Further Reading
A.W.Beasley, 1982, The origins of orthopaedies', Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 75.
MG

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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