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Biographical entry Trevor, David (1905 - 1987)

MRCS 1931; FRCS 1932; MB BS London 1931; MS 1934; LRCP 1931.

24 July 1905
31 January 1987
Orthopaedic surgeon


David Trevor, the third child and second son of John Trevor, a dairyman and sub- postmaster, and of Sarah (née Jones) the daughter of a sheepfarmer, was born in Fulham, London on 24 July 1906. Having started school in North Lndon he was sent to Wales to be brought up by his grandmother n a sheep farm in Ysbyty, Dyfed, where he learnt to speak Welsh. He first attended a local council school and was then awarded a scholarship to Tregaron County School. He duly entered St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College where he won both the junior and senior science scholarships before qualifying in 1931. He left Bart's for a locum appointment at Charing Cross Hospital and was appointed house surgeon to the orthopaedic department; house physician to the children's department; general house surgeon; resident casualty officer and then surgical registrar. He passed the final FRCS one year after graduation and took the gold medal in the London MS two years later. Thus began a lifelong association with Charing Cross until his retirement from that hospital when he immediately returned to Bart's as a locum orthopaedic surgeon.

At the age of 28 Trevor was appointed honorary assistant surgeon at the Royal Waterloo Hospital while continuing to work at Charing Cross, where he was appointed consultant in charge of the orthopaedic department four years later in 1938. On the outbreak of war the Hospital was evacuated to Ashridge, Hertfordshire. He spent the war years in the Emergency Medical Service between Ashridge, West Herts Hospital and London, dealing with air raid and service casualties as well as all the routine orthopaedics. At the end of the war Charing Cross returned to the Strand and Trevor was also appointed to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in 1945. He later recorded his indebtedness to Herbert Batten, Norman Lake, Rocyn Jones, Blundell Bankart, Jennings Marshall, LR Broster and Sir Thomas Fairbank.

Trevor's work on congenital dislocation of the hip was his greatest contribution to orthopaedics. He gave a Hunterian lecture on this subject in 1968, and the Robert Jones lecture in 1971 when he described his experience and results in 657 children treated by capsular .arthroplasty. But he was technically expert in a wide field of orthopaedics and highly respected for his balanced judgement. He was honorary secretary and President of the Section of Orthopaedics of the Royal Society of Medicine and was Vice-President of the British Orthopaedic Association, making occasional contributions to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Journal of bone and joint surgery. Always a notable deflater of pomposity in all its forms, he made many highly amusing and barbed attacks on certain contributors to orthopaedic meetings, usually to the great enjoyment of the rest of the audience. Never previously a great traveller, on retiring from his hospital appointments in 1971, he made a memorable tour of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa visiting many of his former trainees. He then returned to Bart's, a hospital for which he had had a lifelong devotion, teaching a new generation of students with much enjoyment and working for some five years as locum for a sick orthopaedic surgeon. To his great delight he was then appointed a governor of Bart's Medical College and consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the alma mater he had left on the day he first qualified. He served on the Court of Examiners for six years from 1956; as a member of College Council from 1969 to 1981, and latterly as a Vice-President. After retirement he served for several years on Pension Appeal and Industrial Appeal Tribunals.

Outside his professional work Trevor had a great interest in farming and it was said that he once abandoned his wife at a hunt ball to watch a Caesarian section with a vet. Mrs Trevor was furious! He was never happier than when out in the countryside and had a great affinity with farmland, loving to inspect cattle which he reared for beefstock intermittently over the years. He even set the hip of a lamb in plaster when it was cracked during a most difficult multiple birth.

He was also a keen golfer and gardener. He was an honest, self-effacing and lovable man with a mischievous sense of humour - indeed, as a student, he had once managed to leave a costermonger's horse in matron's room at Bart's. He married Kathleen Fairfax Blyth in 1935. They had two daughters and he declined to pay for one of them to go to university to read English, saying "Medicine, or nothing!". His wife predeceased him, and when he died on 31 January 1987 he was survived by his daughters, Adrianne and Rosemary and grandchildren, Heather and David.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1988, 296, 1137; The Times 4 February 1987].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England