Nottingham Hospitals History

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FREDERICK CROOKS

(1887 - 1950)


President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society

"1940 to 1946"


Frederick Crooks:- 6, The Ropewalk, Nottingham. M.B., B.Ch., B.O.A., Belfast, 1911., M.Ch., 1914, F.R.C.S., Edinburgh, 1919. (Belfast). Honorary Assistant Surgeon with charge of Physiotherapy & Orthopaedics Department, General Hospital, Nottingham. Visiting Orthopaedic Surgeon, City Hospital, Nottingham; Orthopaedic Surgeon & Director of the Fracture Clinic, Royal Hospital, Chesterfield; member of the Orthopaedic Section of the Royal Society of Medicine; Member of the British Orthopaedic Association. Late Senior House Surgeon, General Hospital, Nottingham


Medical Directory 1940


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Frederick Crooks was an Ulsterman who came to Nottingham as a House Surgeon immediately after qualifying at Belfast in 1911. He was born in 1887, Maghera County Derry. The son of the late William John Crooks and educated at Cookstown Academy and Queen's University Belfast where he qualified as a House Surgeon after gaining his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Obstetrics. In 1914 he became a Master of Orthopaedic Surgery. For the first two years of the 1st World War he served as a senior house surgeon and then later joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Captain. He was to see service in India as a surgical specialist and was later put in charge of a surgical unit in a military hospital. After he was demobilised he took his Edinburgh Fellowship and was appointed as Honorary Assistant Surgeon to the Nottingham Children's Hospital in 1920. He became an Assistant Surgeon to the General Hospital in 1939. He was also an Honorary Consulting Surgeon to the Nottingham Cripples' Guild from 1923 onwards. He was recognised in the local press as an "orthopaedic surgeon" in 1932, but there was no such appointment at the General Hospital until Noel Birkett was appointed in 1947. Frederick Crooks continued practising general surgery as well as orthopaedics until he died in 1950.


Of his experiences in the two world wars, Dr. Jacobs, a colleague, author of "An History of the General Hospital, Nottingham," asked Frederick Crooks for his impressions:-


“In the first war, he said, the struggle against suppurative and anaerobic infection at times appeared almost hopeless. The amount of disability from compound fractures was almost appalling. In the second war the whole picture was changed, particularly in the last two years by the regular use of Sulphonamides and Penicillin. We used to receive casualties from Italy in 8 or 10 days after injury. They had received Sulphonamides at regular intervals, and arrived looking fit and well. I was able to do primary sutures and plastic operations almost immediately after their arrival. One was also able to close up many compound fractures and treat them as simple fractures. I can only think of one patient who suffered from severe toxaemia, and one who developed gas gangrene.”


Frederick Crooks was to die of brucellosis in 1950 at the age of 63 years. Although he had been ill for several years he continued working until a few hours before his death. In an obituary to Mr. Crooks written by Mr. A. Sheenan it was said of him:-


“He was a brilliant surgeon who combined speed and dexterity greatly to the benefit of his patients. The excellence of the present orthopaedic and accident department of the Nottingham General Hospital is a tribute to his organising ability and hard work, and the department will be a lasting memorial to him. The naming of the operating theatre at the Nottingham Children's Hospital - "The Frederick Crooks Operating Theatre" - gave him great happiness. He was able to imbue his colleagues with his own enthusiasm, and no house surgeon ever asked for help without receiving it in the kindest way.”


Mr. Alan Bell Tawes who knew Frederick Crooks for many years wrote: "my impression is that he was the perfect example of the true general surgeon who was as at home in the abdomen as he was pinning a fracture of the neck of the femur - both of which he did superbly well."


A physiotherapist who worked with Frederick Crooks said of him. "He spoke with a strong Irish accent, and it was difficult to make out what he said, particularly as he always had a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. Although he was a shy man, he had no hesitation in speaking his mind, especially when treatment was not going according to plan. He was nonetheless appreciative of good work." When that same physiotherapist was leaving to get married he said of her, "although her post would be filled, she herself would never be replaced".


From the "Development of Orthopaedics in Nottingham Area"

by William Waugh.

Pages, 145, 146, 148 & 149.


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