Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Bruner, Julian Minassian (1900 - 1997)

MRCS and FRCS 1973; MD Chicago 1927.

4 December 1900
Des Moines, Iowa, USA
20 June 1997
General surgeon and Hand surgeon


Julian Bruner was a founder member and past President of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on 4 December 1900. His father, Harootune Avedis Minassian, came from Turkey, qualified at the Central Turkey College in 1886, and later studied at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York, where he graduated MD for a second time. His mother was Jessie Bruner, daughter of the Reverend Francis Marion Bruner. He took his mother's maiden name in 1918. He was educated in the public schools of Des Moines and then entered the University of Chicago in 1922, graduating MD from the Rush Medical College in 1927.

From Rush, he went to the Mayo Clinic as a fellow and resident for three years. It was there that he heard that the College was, for the first time, going to offer the primary examination in Toronto in August 1929. Together with an Australian fellow resident, he studied for the primary, doing dissections under the direction of James Learmonth, who was then a Rockefeller fellow and a member of the neuro-surgical staff at the Mayo Clinic. During this time, he also became a friend of Archie McIndoe, also a visiting fellow. He was one of the successful nine out of 23 candidates.

After completing his residency, he applied to the College to sit the final FRCS and Lord Moynihan ruled that he was eligible to sit the examination. So he and his new bride went to London in 1932, enrolled along with McIndoe in the Bart's refresher course, but failed. He did a two-month tour of the Continent and another refresher course at St Thomas's, but failed again in November 1932. So he returned to join his father in private practice in Des Moines.

During the second world war, he worked as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Medical Corps under Sterling Bunnell in the William Beaumont General Hospital, El Paso, Texas, which treated more than 2,000 cases of hand injury from all over the world. In 1946, at Bunnell's suggestion, he joined other young surgeons to set up the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, of which he became President in 1959.

In 1950, he visited England, as the guest of McIndoe at East Grinstead and Learmonth, now Regius Professor of Surgery in Edinburgh. In 1961, he joined a group of British surgeons who were later to become the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, whose meetings he attended regularly for the next decade. He was invited to give the McIndoe lecture at the College in 1972 and was made FRCS ad eundem in 1973. He was a member of the appeal committee of the Royal College of Surgeons Foundation.

He married in 1932, Winifred Mary née Burns, by whom he had one son and two daughters, none of whom became doctors. He died on 20 June 1997.

Sources used to compile this entry: [JAMA 1998 March;279:808].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England