Sir Frank Wild Holdsworth, FRCS (1904, Bradford – 1969) was a leading
British orthopaedic surgeon known for his work on spinal injury.
He held many high offices and received honors, including
knighthood in 1967 and honorary fellow of the American College of
Surgeons. He described the Holdsworth fracture of the spine (1963) and
based on more than 2000 patients spine-injured patients he treated, he
published the first comprehensive spinal injury classification system
(1970), known as the Holdsworth classification. He was the first person to coin "columns" concept, to use "burst
fracture" term, and to stress importance of posterior ligamentous
complex in stability.
Holdsworth was born and grew up in Bradford, and educated at Bradford
Grammar School. He studied medicine at Downing College, Cambridge,
where he had won an exhibition, and St. George's Hospital Medical
School. He qualified MRCS, LRCP in 1929, and was awarded FRCS in 1930
and M. Chir in 1935. On his return to Yorkshire, he worked at the
Sheffield Royal Infirmary, becoming consultant orthopaedic surgeon
there, and at the Sheffield Children's Hospital, in 1937. He
established the orthopaedic and accident service in Sheffield, and
later developed the registrar rotation system which has become standard
in the United Kingdom.
He worked in a highly industrialised
area, thus interested in trauma surgery. He visited the United States
and Canada to study paraplegia which was common after coal mining
accidents. Eventually, he became one of the first surgeons in the UK to
develop rehabilitation for spinal injury patients under the auspieces
of the Miners' Welfare Commission. Paraplegia remained an interest
throughout his career, and he campaigned to establish a spinal unit at
Lodge Moor Hospital in Fulwood, South Yorkshire.
President of the British Orthopaedic Association, Senior Vice President
of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and an Honorary Fellow of
the American College of Surgeons. He received a knighthood in 1968, and
became professor at the University of Sheffield in 1969.
Holdsworth FW. Fractures, dislocations, and
fracture-dislocations of the spine. J Bone Joint Surg Br (February 1963, 45-B (1):
FW, Chir M. Review Article Fractures, dislocations, and
fracture-dislocations of the spine. J Bone Joint Surg Am
New Year Honours. Br Med J 1 (5583): 49–50. 6 January 1968. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.5583.49.
Sir Frank Wild Holdsworth 1904-1969. J Bone Joint Surg Br 52 (1): 168–70. February 1970.
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