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Biographical entry Hussein, Mohamed Kamel (1901 - 1977)

MB BS Cairo 1923; MRCS LRCP 1927; FRCS 1928; MCh Liverpool 1930.

20 March 1901
Cairo, Egypt
Orthopaedic surgeon and Writer


Mohamed Kamel Hussein was professor of orthopaedic surgery at Kasr El Ainy Medical School, Cairo, and was known in Egypt as the 'father of orthopaedics'. He was born in Cairo on 20 March 1901, the third child of Mohamed Aly Hussein, a school teacher. After his parents died, Hussein was brought up by his older brother. He studied medicine in Cairo, where he was always top of his class, and qualified MB BS in 1923. He was then picked to travel to England for postgraduate studies and gained his FRCS in 1928.

Back in Cairo, he was appointed to the teaching staff of Kasr El Ainy Medical School. He was then once again chosen to study in the UK: he studied orthopaedics in Liverpool and obtained his MCh.

On returning to Cairo, he began an orthopaedic training programme at the Kasr El Ainy Hospital, Fouad I University, now known as Cairo University. He also founded the Egyptian Red Crescent Hospital and began an accident and emergency service, the first of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East. He was the founder of the Egyptian Orthopaedic Association and was elected as its first president. He served in this role from 1948 to 1967. He was also chief editor of its scientific journal.

He was also an accomplished and prolific writer. He studied Arabic in depth and published many poems and short stories, along with studies of linguistics and grammar. His best-known book City of wrong -a Friday in Jerusalem (Geoffrey Bles, 1959), translated into English and six other languages, won a prestigious national prize in literature.

He was also interested in medical history, particularly the history of Arabic medicine, and wrote about the great Arabic polymath Al-Razi. He also published a translation of the Edwin Smith Papyrus on ancient Egyptian traumatology.

He was unmarried, but he shared a home with his sister, whose husband had died young, and her children. Mohamed Kamel Hussain died in 1977.

Sarah Gillam

The Royal College of Surgeons of England