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Biographical entry Osborne, Rowland Percy ( - 1981)

MRCS and FRCS 1953; MB ChB Manchester 1927.

Plastic surgeon


After graduating at Manchester and resident appointments there, Rowland Osborne became resident surgical officer at the Park Hospital, Davyhulme. In 1940 he was appointed superintendent of Whiston Hospital, Prescot, a mixed civilian and military establishment where he developed an interest in plastic surgery and so became attached to T P Kilner's plastic unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1941. He was a tall, thin, humorous man, methodical and highly industrious. Quickly settling to the demands of his new speciality, he became especially interested in burns treatment with the Bunyan-Stannard envelope. He was an all-rounder with wide interests, though conservative and preferring tested procedures to the more adventurous activities of some of his colleagues. His earlier experience and penchant for administration led to him taking on much of the day to day organisation of Kilner's unit.

On returning to Liverpool after the second world war he worked hard to get the speciality of plastic surgery established there. In this he was greatly helped by his good humour and tact and soon there was a burns unit at Whiston Hospital, a children's ward at Alder Hey and a plastic teaching appointment for him at the Royal Southern Hospital. Thus did he cover the Liverpool region whilst still finding time to return to Stoke Mandeville every week-end, leaving Lime Street station on the midnight train and having a regular contract with the engine driver to fill his hot-water bottle. He also held clinics in Rhyl and Bangor, and did a weekly session at the Stockport paraplegic unit. The visits to Stoke Mandeville and Oxford were given up after Kilner's retirement in 1961.

Osborne developed a special interest in the management of cleft lip and palate, and in the care of pressure sores in paraplegics. He was a founder member of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons and its first treasurer, a post which he held until his retirement 27 years later in 1971, and he was President in 1957. He was a highly competent surgeon, an ardent advocate of his speciality, a loyal colleague and an excellent chairman of committees. Affectionately known as 'Rastus' he was universally popular. Roland Osborne married relatively late in life and is survived by his wife, Gwen, and one son.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1981, 283, 1330; Information from Mr J P Reidy, FRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England