- The man behind the surgeon was one to be admired, bringing new ideas to the forefront of orthopeadic medicine.
Growing up in Sydney, Fred attended Sydney Grammar before deciding to do medicine at Sydney University. He graduated from Sydney University in 1962 with an honours degree. For two years work as an anatomy demonstrator at the university for two years whilst doing his resident years and as a 2nd year resident decided on a career as an Orthopaedic surgeon.
He was admitted to Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1967 before making the move to the United Kingdom in 1969 where he was initially at the Mount Gould Orthopaedic Hospital in Plymouth. He then spent two years or so at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London where he learnt new skills and made lasting memories.
In 1972 he returned to Sydney to complete his orthopaedic training at the Royal North Shore Hospital. Then at the behest of his contemporary and good friend Lindsay Wing he moved to Hobart where Lindsay had informed him there was an opportunity for another orthopaedic surgeon. Fred rapidly built up significant private and public practices which continued until his retirement in 2003. He brought with him the, then novel, concept, of rigid internal fixation of fractures and early joint mobilisation and carried his AO instrumentation around in the boot of the Porsche.
He was, for a time, Head of the Orthopaedic Department at the Royal Hobart Hospital and served as the Tasmanian Representative on the Council of the Australian Orthopaedic Association (AOA).
Fred could make quite a mess when applying plasters, in fact sometimes there was more on the floor and walls than on the patient. Glen Brown, then Plaster Technician at the Royal Hobart Hospital, tells the story of them applying a hip spica, where Fred did one side and Glen the other. At the end of the procedure, Fred asked Glen to come around to his side, and Fred announced that ‘his side was better than Glen’s’. When Glen asked how he had come to that conclusion, Fred answered ‘because there’s more mess!’.
He enjoyed lecturing in orthopaedics to the students at the medical school at University of Tasmania and was, along with others, responsible for training registrars on the AOA programme.
He is remembered by his colleagues as a well-dressed man in suit and waistcoat with a pipe and neatly maintained beard. The pipe and ubiquitous cups of coffee were resorted to in the event of any delay in proceedings and during his many consulting sessions.
Fred was one of those unique people, an exceptional surgeon, well-liked by his colleagues, his patients and of course his theatre staff. It has been alleged that he was amongst their favourites which is just as well given the length of his operating lists.
For an orthopaedic surgeon he was remarkably patient and equally even tempered. He never appeared to be flustered, the epitome of a surgeon in control and who knew what he was doing.