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Biographical entry Stack, Hugh Graham (1915 - 1992)

MRCS 1942; FRCS 1951; LRCP 1942.

7 December 1915
28 May 1992
Hand surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Hugh Graham Stack was born in Bristol on 7 December 1915, the third son of Edward H E Stack FRCS (Lives of the Fellows 2, 340), ophthalmic surgeon to the Bristol Royal Infirmary, and his wife Caroline, née Kennedy. His early education was at Clifton College and whilst there he was awarded the H H Wills scholarship to study chemistry at Bristol University. After three years he changed direction and entered St Bartholomew's Hospital as a medical student, qualifying in 1942.

His early appointments were as house surgeon to Addenbrooke's Hospital, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and the Miller General Hospital, Greenwich. He joined the RNVR from 1945 to 1947 and after demobilisation served as honorary demonstrator in anatomy at King's College, Strand, and later as surgical registrar at the North Middlesex Hospital. He passed the FRCS in 1951 and then decided to pursue a career in orthopaedic surgery. He was appointed senior registrar at the Miller Hospital and chief assistant to the orthopaedic department of St Bartholomew's Hospital. During this time he developed an interest in reconstructive surgery of the hand and came under the influence of Jackson Burrows, Osmond Clark, Norman Capener and Guy Pulvertaft. In 1956 he was appointed consultant surgeon at the Albert Dock Orthopaedic and Fracture Hospital and subsequently secured appointments at Harold Wood and Brentwood District Hospitals. He later became honorary consultant in hand surgery at the regional plastic surgery centre in St Andrew's Hospital, Billericay.

His interest in hand surgery continued and he carried out research into the anatomy and function of the intrinsic muscles, which was presented at an Arris and Gale Lecture in 1962 entitled Muscle function in the fingers. He was awarded a gold medal by the British Medical Association in 1963 for his film on the same subject and in 1970 was elected Hunterian Professor. His lecture was entitled The palmar fascia and described the applied anatomy of Dupuytren's contracture.

Shortly before his consultant appointment the Hand Club of Great Britain had decided to pursue a policy of closed membership, and a group of younger surgeons with similar interests formed a society named the Second Hand Club. Graham Stack was made secretary of the new society and made detailed records of its bi-annual meetings, issuing a bulletin to all members. In 1965 he played an important rôle in the merger of the two clubs into the British Club for Surgery of the Hand, of which he was President in 1973. He continued to contribute to orthopaedic publications and was co-editor of The hand which later became linked with the Journal of hand surgery - American volume.

He was a liveryman of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries which he joined in 1967, and regularly attended its meetings. He retired from practice in 1980 and moved home to Salisbury.

He married Lorna Cooke MB, MRCP in 1955, having met her while working as a senior registrar at the Central Middlesex Hospital. There was one daughter, Caroline, and one son, Charles, who became a consultant anaesthetist.

His outside interests were fly-fishing, wood carving (he made the gavel which is still used in committee meetings), field botany and gardening, all of which he was able to pursue in Salisbury. He died on 28 May 1992 aged 77, survived by his wife and family.

Sources used to compile this entry: [J hand surg (Br) 1992 17 595, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England