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69946: Orthopaedics in Oxford

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posted on 2023-12-07, 13:41 authored by Oxford At War Project Team

Information about the role of WWI in the history of NDORMS can be found on the NDORMS site



Ulrike Bilgram

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Now a thriving department spread across three main sites in Headington, the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) owes its existence to Gathorne R. Girdlestone who became the first Nuffield Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, in 1937. However, Professor Girdlestone's history at Oxford had begun much earlier. With the outbreak of World War I, the wounded soldiers returning from the front lines of one of the deadliest conflicts the world has ever seen needed treatment. In 1914, the Wingfield Convalescent Home - now the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) site - joined the British war efforts and became a sectional military hospital under the 3rd Southern General Hospital, which was based in the Examination Schools in High Street. Young surgeon G. R. Girdlestone was posted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital as a Captain in 1915; he soon realised the need for a fresh-air annexe to the Examination Schools, to fight the risk of infection. He found the ideal place for this in Headington, next to the Wingfield Convalescent Home. By 1916 the wooden huts that were to shape the layout of the hospital until the 1930s, had been erected. It was also in 1916 that G. R. Girdlestone was put in charge of the Wingfield Convalescent Home, which included an orthopaedic workshop and operating theatre. The hospital remained part of the War Office until the end of the war, in 1918. An outstanding surgeon and clinician, Girdlestone was also an excellent administrator with great vision. After the war, he joined the hospital committee and led the development of clinical excellence in orthopaedic treatment worldwide - particularly for children - at what would later become the NOC. See also:

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Orthopaedics in Oxford


Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust

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