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Biographical entry Tamplin, Richard Williams (1814 - 1874)

MRCS Nov 18th 1836; FRCS Dec 11th 1843 one of the original 300 Fellows.

6 May 1874
Orthopaedic surgeon


Educated at the London Hospital. His name was from the first well known in connection with the early history and progress of orthopaedic surgery in England. In 1838, in conjunction with his brother-in-law, W J Little, and aided by Quarles Harris, he helped to establish the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. Tamplin's connection with the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital lasted to within two years of his death in 1874, when he resigned the surgeoncy in consequence of difficulties which had arisen between the medical staff and the managing committee. These difficulties had their chief origin in the defects of the nursing department and in the insanitary condition of the hospital. Tamplin's representations with regard to the unsatisfactory state of affairs were unheeded, and he then resigned, as did also his colleague, W Adams (qv). Tamplin enjoyed a large private practice for many years at 33 Old Burlington Street, W.

In the year 1842 he first divided subcutaneously the posterior tibial tendon for congenital talipes yarns in infants, and, although the method of operating has been since improved, the credit of its first performance belongs to him. He had, moreover, a considerable reputation for the treatment of lateral curvature of the spine, his practice being based essentially on mechanical principles. The treatment of webbed fingers in children by making a perforation at the apex of the web with a small screw clamp, and then dividing the length of the web, is an operation for which we are indebted to Tamplin. In the treatment of joint disease he was an ardent follower of John Scott (qv), believing in the value of rest, and of the application of mercurial ointment and of bandages and splints.

Tamplin died at his residence at Chiswick on May 6th, 1874. His photograph is in the College Collection.

Lectures on the Nature and Treatment of Deformities, delivered at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Bloomsbury Square, 8vo, Philadelphia, 1846.
Lateral Curvature of the Spine, its Causes, Nature and Treatment, 8vo, London, 1852.
"Case of Ununited Fracture of the Tibia, of 24 Years' Standing, Successfully Treated." - Lond Med Gaz, 1850, xlvi, 140.
"Statistical Reports of 10,200 Cases of Contracture and Deformity treated at the Royal Orthopedic Hospital" (Introductory Lecture), Ibid, 1851, xlviii, 829.
Three Lectures on "Deformities". - Brit Med Jour, 1860, 449, etc.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England