Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Henry, Adrian Needham (1930 - 1991)

MRCS and FRCS 1961; BA Dublin 1952; MB BCh BAO 1954; MCh 1966; FRCSI 1961.

22 June 1930
Dublin, Ireland
13 October 1991
Orthopaedic surgeon


Adrian Henry was born in Dublin on 22 June 1930, the son of Robert Francis Jack Henry, Professor of Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and his wife Stella Christine, née Ross. Adrian spent a year at the Dublin College of Art before studying medicine at Trinity College, Dublin. His student career was remarkable for its extramural activities, which included representing his university in sailing and acting as a reserve for his national team at the Helsinki European Games, racing in the Irish Grand National, and having paintings exhibited in the Irish Royal Academy.

He became registrar in orthopaedics at Bristol Royal Infirmary and senior registrar at the Middlesex Hospital and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. While doing an exchange year at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Jamaica he captained the local polo team. He was the British Orthopaedic Association Travelling Fellow in 1967, the same year as he was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon to Guy's Hospital. At Guy's his first commitment was to children's orthopaedics and to the particular problems of deformity in cerebral palsy. His teaching emphasised not only the patients' physical difficulties but the emotional problems of their parents and close relatives.

His greatest contribution was to the surgery of the knee, and to the development of arthroscopy as a means of achieving accurate diagnosis in conjunction with the physical signs. He helped to establish the British Association for Surgery of the Knee, of which he was the first President. He was a joint founder of the International Arthroscopy Association and the European Society for Knee Surgery, was orthopaedic representative of the Royal College of Surgeons Travelling Club and President of the Orthopaedic Section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

While his contributions to orthopaedic surgery helped to change the face of sports medicine, his outside interests continued in equestrian sports - he was an industrious Master of Fox Hounds - as well as in fishing and sailing.

He died on 13 October 1991, and was survived by his wife Ros, and their four children - Julian, Joanna, Phillida and Katherine.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1992 304 910; The Times 16 October 1991].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England