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Biographical entry Smith, Harman Gilbert (1915 - 2006)

MB BS Otago 1940; FRCS 1948; FRACS.

10 October 1915
Whangarei, New Zealand
27 January 2006
Orthopaedic surgeon


Harman Gilbert Smith was a senior orthopaedic surgeon at Middlemore Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand. He was born in Whangarei, New Zealand, on 10 October 1915 and studied medicine in Dunedin, qualifying in 1940. His first posts were as house surgeon and registrar at Auckland and Greenlane hospitals.

He then joined the Navy and served as a surgeon in the Pacific. He was in Japanese waters when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945.

Following his demobilisation, he went to the UK, where he was initially an anatomy demonstrator at the Middlesex Hospital, and then trained at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. He gained his FRCS in 1948.

In 1950 he returned to New Zealand. He was a casualty officer at Auckland Hospital and then became an orthopaedic surgeon at the Middlemore Hospital. He also developed a large consulting and medico-legal private practice. At Middlemore Hospital he established new patient clinics, including one for clubfeet. He also played a major role in the development of an orthopaedic training scheme.

He gained his fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1959 and later served as an examiner for the college. He was secretary, editorial secretary and president (from 1974 to 1975) of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association. He was a fellow of the British Orthopaedic Association and a corresponding member of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons and of the American Fracture Association.

He continued his involvement in the Navy, serving in the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve. His services were recognised with an OBE in 1967. He was also honorary surgeon to two governors general.

He was married to Jill. Harman Gilbert Smith died on 27 January 2006. He was 90. He was survived by his daughters, Susan and Philippa.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [New Zealand Medical Journal 31 March 2006 Vol 119 No1231].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England