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Biographical entry Salter, Robert Bruce (1924 - 2010)

Hon FRCS 1975; FACS.

15 December 1924
Stratford, Ontario, Canada
10 May 2010
Orthopaedic surgeon


Robert Bruce Salter, known as 'Bob', a sixth generation Canadian, was a pioneer in orthopaedic surgery in children. He was born in Stratford, Ontario, on 15 December 1924 and graduated from the University of Toronto. He then worked for two years at the Grenfell Medical Mission in Newfoundland, and spent a year as a McLaughlin fellow in 1954, during which time he worked for Watson-Jones and Osmond Clarke at the London Hospital. He returned to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 1955, where he was to become surgeon-in-chief and professor of surgery at the University of Toronto.

His life's work was based on thoughtful and careful animal research. Among his many contributions to orthopaedic surgery were his eponymous procedure for congenital dislocation of the hip - innominate osteotomy. He was in universal demand as a guest lecturer and visiting professor. His Textbook of disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system (Baltimore USA, E & S Livingstone, Williams & Wilkins Co., 1970) was used all over the world.

He received many honours: an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1977 (promoted to Companion in 1997), the Order of Ontario (in 1988), fellow of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada, the Gairdner Foundation international award for medical science, the FNG Starr medal of the Canadian Medical Association, the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Zimmer award for distinguished achievement in orthopaedic research and the Nicolas Andry award. He was the Sims travelling professor of our College in 1973, during which time he gave the Colles lecture in the Irish College. He was president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and an honorary fellow of our College, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and of four other surgical colleges.

He was married to Robbie. They had five children. His many interests included heraldry and medical history. He died on 10 May 2010.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Journal of the Irish Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, Vol.7, No.4, April 1978, pp.153-4; 'Salter, Robert Bruce' J Knelman, Canadian Encyclopedia - accessed 19 January 2011].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England