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Biographical entry Jackson, John Peter (1915 - 1997)

MRCS 1940; FRCS 1949; MB BS London 1950; LRCP 1940.

22 December 1915
Penarth, South Wales
18 July 1997
Orthopaedic surgeon


Born in Penarth, South Wales, on 22 December 1915, John Peter Jackson's father was Spencer Jackson, a general practitioner, who died when he was only 12. His mother was Winifred Latta Tolson. He was educated at Epsom College and St Thomas's Hospital, where he qualified in 1940 and, after spending six months as a house surgeon, joined the RAMC. He spent the next five years as a general duties medical officer with the 8th Army in North Africa and Italy. He went to France two days after D-day, and was with the advance into Germany.

On demobilisation, he set out to train as a surgeon, working at Leicester Royal Infirmary, before specialising in orthopaedics at Great Portland Street. In 1950, he was appointed as the first senior registrar at Harlow Wood, becoming a consultant there four years later.

He made two outstanding contributions to orthopaedic surgery. The first contribution, following a review of 640 patients five years after operation, using the opposite knee as a control, was to demonstrate that osteoarthritis of the knee might follow meniscectomy. At that time this heresy aroused strong opposition and his paper was not published until 1968. His second contribution was to develop a method of tibial osteotomy to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, which in turn led to an understanding of the deformity which followed osteoarthritis of one or other compartment of the knee and to further advances in its treatment.

His courses at Harlow Wood were popular with young surgeons from all over the world, and were recognised by his being made an honorary fellow of the Hellenic Orthopaedic Association in 1992. When Harlow Wood was closed, his work continued at Nottingham, where he strove to establish an academic department of orthopaedic surgery.

He was President of the orthopaedic section of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Vice-President of the British Orthopaedic Association in 1979. He was a keen supporter of, and honorary surgeon to, Notts County Football Club and Nottingham Forest Football Club.

After retirement he was involved in medico-legal work, and edited A Practical guide to medicine and law (1991, London, Springer). He married Dorothy Joan Lawrence, a physiotherapist, in 1944. They had two sons, Peter and Mark (who followed him into orthopaedics). He died on 18 July 1997.

Sources used to compile this entry: [British Orthopaedic News Summer 1997].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England