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Biographical entry Monk, Cyril John Elmes (1929 - 2010)

MB BCh Witwatersrand 1954; FRCS Edin 1959; FRCS 1962; MCh Orth Liverpool 1966.

7 January 2010
Orthopaedic surgeon


John Monk was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in Liverpool. He was educated in South Africa, at the Christian Brothers' College in Bokburg. After finishing his schooling, he worked in the family business and then went to the UK, hoping to start an acting career, but soon realised he wanted to be a doctor. He returned home and studied medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, qualifying MB BCh in 1954 and winning prizes for anatomy and surgery.

He went again to the UK and trained in surgery in London, Sheffield and Oswestry, as a registrar at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital. In 1964 he was appointed to his consultant post in Liverpool. He worked mainly at the university teaching hospitals, including the Royal Liverpool, Myrtle Street and Alder Hey. For a period he was head of orthopaedics within Liverpool University.

He was a committed teacher of both undergraduates and postgraduates, and wrote two popular textbooks: True or false in orthopaedics: a revision course for undergraduates (London, Oxford University Press, 1971) and Orthopaedics for undergraduates (London, Oxford University Press, 1976).

He also introduced a new approach to hip replacement, the Monk bipolar prosthesis, which became popular worldwide. He established a paediatric orthopaedic clinic and a research unit dedicated to the pathology of hip problems in children.

He served on the board of the British Orthopaedic Association.

He was married to Anne and they had three children and a grandchild. John Monk died on 7 January 2010 after a long illness and was survived by his family.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2010 340 2906].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England