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Biographical entry Smaill, Graeme Ballantyne (1928 - 1972)

MRCS and FRCS 1960; MB ChB Otago 1954; FRACS 1962.

Gisborne, New Zealand
20 September 1972
Orthopaedic surgeon


Graeme Ballantyne Smaill was born in Gisbome, New Zealand, in 1928 and was educated at Gisbome High School and Otago University where he graduated MB, ChB in 1954. In his student days he was keen on surf lifesaving and on tennis. After graduation he spent three years at Wellington Hospital as house surgeon and surgical registrar, and it was at this time that he decided to specialize in orthopaedics.

After a year doing locums he came to England and in 1960 was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. He then became orthopaedic registrar at the Rowley Bristow Hospital and for a second year at the West Middlesex Hospital, returning to New Zealand in 1962 to become senior registrar in orthopaedics at Wellington Hospital. The same year he obtained the FRACS and shortly afterwards was appointed full time orthopaedic consultant at Wellington Hospital, and was also on the staff of the Home of Compassion, Island Bay. In 1966 he gave up full time hospital work in order to undertake private practice and in 1967 was instrumental in establishing an orthopaedic unit at the Hutt Hospital, but he continued to serve Wellington Hospital as a part-time consultant for the rest of his short life.

Smaill was particularly interested in children's orthopaedics and made an important contribution to the management of congenital dislocation of the hip, for which he was awarded the Gillies Medal of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association in 1966. He was also interested in medico-legal practice.

Graeme Smaill was greatly appreciated by his colleagues not only for clinical reliability but also for his friendliness. In his leisure time he enjoyed golf and skiing and did much to improve the amenities of his home. The loss of such a young and active man left a serious gap in Wellington's medical circle when he died in Trumarunui Hospital after a short illness on 20 September 1972. His wife and four children survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [NZ med J 1972, 76, 369].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England