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Biographical entry Grimsdell, David James (1926 - 1995)

MRCS and FRCS 1968; MB BS London 1950; FAOA .

29 November 1995
Orthopaedic surgeon


Grimsdell was born in Watford, England, in 1926 and did his medical training at Westminster Hospital. After a stint as medical officer in the RAMC in West Africa from 1952 to 1954, he trained in orthopaedics in London, at hospitals that included the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore. He was then appointed as an orthopaedic consultant at Northampton and later at Ipswich Hospital, where he worked from 1968 to 1972.

Grimsdell migrated to Australia in 1972 with his physiotherapist wife Vivian and initially settled in Young, NSW. He visited Dubbo regularly until 1980, when he moved there as the first fully qualified orthopaedic surgeon to practise full-time at Dubbo Base Hospital.

He was a pioneer in his field - in 1974 he performed one of the first total hip replacements in central western NSW. He established most of the initial equipment and instrument needs for orthopaedic and trauma surgery at Dubbo Base Hospital, and was tireless in his efforts to improve these services at both this hospital and Macquarie Private Hospital, writing numerous letters of request to authorities and the local Member.

Initially David worked on his own, but from the arrival of Ian Stratton in 1981 they shared a week-on/week-off roster. Working without registrar support until 1992 was an onerous task, and Grimsdell felt that the constant stress of on-call emergencies for such a large population contributed to his ill-health. He underwent a total knee replacement that needed two major revisions and also a hind-foot arthrodesis.

Grimsdell's surgical work was first-rate; he had a reputation for thoroughness and honesty in medicolegal reporting and was highly skilled in history taking and physical examination, providing detail that was valued greatly by his colleagues.

Grimsdell died on 29 November 1995, survived by his wife and daughter, Mary.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 1996 164 374, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England