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Biographical entry Thomas, David Francis (1913 - 1980)

MRCS and FRCS 1946; BPh Rome 1933; BD Fribourg 1937; MB BCh BAO Cork 1942.

5 October 1913
Cork City, Eire
29 August 1980
Orthopaedic surgeon


David Francis Thomas was born in Cork City, Eire, on 5 October, 1913, the son of Frederick Arthur Thomas and Mary Riordan. He was educated first at the Lateran University in Rome and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, having intended to take Holy Orders. He graduated Bachelor of Philosophy, magna cum laude, Rome, in 1933 and Bachelor of Divinity, summa cum laude, Fribourg, in 1937. He graduated MB BCh BAO National University of Ireland (Cork) in 1942 and became FRCS in 1946. He took the first place and won 1st class honours in his medical course, winning the Charles Medal in physiology, the Pearson Medal in surgery, and the Blaney Scholarship and Butterworth Prize. He was house surgeon at Crumpsall Hospital, Manchester, and at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and surgical registrar at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, Charing Cross Hospital, and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. He was also assistant lecturer in anatomy in Birmingham and registrar and tutor at Leeds General Infirmary. His interest in orthopaedic surgery was stimulated by H A Brittain and G F McKee. In the early 1950s, he was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Scunthorpe Hospital and because of the illness of the orthopaedic surgeon at Lincoln, he dealt with the work there and subsequently became consultant in Lincoln.

He was a skilled and scrupulous surgeon, conservative in his approach but never slow to adopt new techniques or instruments if he considered that they would benefit his patients. He was a Fellow of the British Orthopaedic Association and of the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of the Advisory Orthopaedic Committee at the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board. For many years he was honorary consultant to Lincoln City Football Club and they greatly regretted his retirement. He married Jean Girvan in 1946 and they had one son and four daughters, one of the girls being a radiographer. He died on 29 August, 1980, survived by his wife and children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1981, 1, 235].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England