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Biographical entry Hughes, John Rowland (1915 - 1998)

FCRS ad eundem 1976; MB ChB Liverpool 1940; MD 1945; MCh Orth 1948; FRCS Edinburgh 1947.

8 April 1998
Orthopaedic surgeon


John Rowland Hughes was born and educated in Llangollen, and did his medical training in Liverpool, where he qualified at the beginning of the war. His first post was house surgeon to Watson-Jones at Liverpool Royal Infirmary. From 1941 to 1946, he was in the RAF Medical Service at Ely, and then the Weeton RAF orthopaedic centre at Fylde. After the war, he returned to Liverpool to specialise in orthopaedics, gaining the Edinburgh FRCS, MCh Orth and MD degrees.

He was appointed consultant surgeon to the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry, in 1950, which began the transformation of Oswestry from a country hospital into a regional teaching centre of excellence. He inherited after-care clinics in North and mid-Wales, extending from Colwyn Bay to Aberystwyth, which were held in unlikely venues such as church halls, chapels, masonic halls and the Corwen Welsh-speaking Union Club. Rowland played a seminal part in this, instituting the Friday clinical conference to replace the long ward round as the main teaching forum. The 'Welsh firm' was the first to hold this conference regularly on a Friday afternoon, and gradually the custom of dining in the mess on a Friday evening, followed by entertainments such as Oswestry billiards, became a tradition. He was a member of many national and international societies and a popular visiting professor all over the world. Rather a slow operator, his favourite aphorism was "my patients may lose time but not blood". Indeed, he had no sense of time, and his clinics extended late into the evening, to the affectionate exasperation of his long-suffering staff.

He died on 8 April 1998, and is survived by his wife Mary, an ophthalmologist, and a daughter, Judy.

Sources used to compile this entry: [J Bone Joint Surg Sept 1998 Vol 80B No 5, 932, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England