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Biographical entry Solomon, Louis (1928 - 2014)

MB ChB Cape Town 1951; MD 1963; FRCS Edin 1958; FRCS 1959.

31 May 1928
Keimoes, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
19 August 2014
Orthopaedic surgeon


Louis Solomon was professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Bristol. He was born on 31 May 1928 in Keimoes in what is now the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. His parents were of Jewish Russian descent - his mother, Anne, was from Glasgow, his father, Solly, was from Ireland. He attended boarding school in Cape Town, where he was an outstanding student, and won a scholarship to study medicine at Cape Town University. He qualified in 1951.

He was a houseman at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, and at Baragwanath Hospital, Johannesburg. He then went to Upington in the Northern Cape for three years, where he was a general practitioner and performed his own operations, often as both anaesthetist and surgeon. He subsequently returned to Johannesburg and worked at the Non-European Hospital.

Deciding to become an orthopaedic surgeon, he undertook specialist training at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, England, and then at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, working with Otto Aufranc.

In 1967 he was appointed as professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. After a distinguished career in South Africa he took up the inaugural chair of orthopaedic surgery at Bristol University. He retired in 1994.

With Alan Apley he edited Concise system of orthopaedics and fractures (Butterworths, 1988), which became an influential textbook of orthopaedic surgery. After Apley's death, Solomon continued editing the textbook, which has been renamed Apley and Solomon's system of orthopaedics.

He was honoured by many awards, including the Robert Jones medal from the British Orthopaedic Association in 1966, the Leipoldt Memorial medal from the South African Medical Association and the Geigy travelling fellowship from the Empire Rheumatism Council, London. He was awarded the president's medal and prize of the South African Orthopaedic Association in 1964 and the Smith and Nephew prize in 1967, 1974 and 1978. He was the inaugural president of the South African Rheumatism and Arthritis Association between 1966 and 1968. He was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery from 1989 to 1993.

As a medical student he married Joan. They had three children, a son (Ryan), two daughters (Caryn and Joyce) and four granddaughters. Louis Solomon died on 19 August 2014 in Bristol. He was 86.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2014 349 7359 - accessed 4 November 2016; University of Bristol News Professor Louis Solomon, 1928-2014, 10 November 2014 - accessed 4 November 2016].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England