Obituaries

ObituariesMichael Bertrand DevasThomas Patterson Scade FrewAdnan Sabih JamilRobert Leonard McMillanJulian Vahrman

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7188.946 (Published 03 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:946

Michael Bertrand Devas


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Former orthopaedic surgeon Hastings and professor of orthopaedic surgery Penang (b 1920; q Cambridge 1943; MChir, FRCS), died from heart failure on 20 February 1999. He joined the Royal Air Force, serving in the Far East, and was appointed to Hastings in 1956. He invented what he called geriatric orthopaedics, which meant an urgent approach to the elderly and collaboration with geriatricians. “I'm only a humble carpenter,” he said, “and I need a physician to tell me what's wrong with the patient.” He started the world's first geriatric orthopaedic unit where orthopaedic surgeon and geriatrician worked together, conducting joint ward rounds. He emphasised the need for early operation for all, even the frailest, and immediate rehabilitation, with urgent attention to the patient's other medical and social problems. A favourite saying was, “The first step in rehabilitation is the first step.” Michael established an orthopaedic workshop and found the funds and right people to staff it. Here were developed the Hastings hip, the Devas pin and plate, the Attenborough knee, and other prostheses. For many years he was an associate editor of theJournal of Bone and Joint …

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