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SYDNEY ALAN STORMER MALKIN

(1892 - 1964)


President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society

1954 - 1955


Sydney Alan Stormer Malkin:- 54, The Ropewalk, Nottingham: C.B.E. 1952; M.R.C.S. 1915; F.R.C.S. England ad eundem 1948; L.R.C.P. London, 1915 (University College Hospital); F.R.C.S.Edinburgh. 1922; M.B., B.S. London 1922; Senior Surgeon & Surgeon Superintendent, Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital, Associated Out Patients Clinics & Children’s Hospital, Grindley; Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mansfield & District General Hospital, Retford Hospital& Newark & Grantham General Hospitals. Member of the Standing Advisory Committee on Limb Fitting, Ministry of Health. Fellow & Ex-President of the British Orthpaedic Association; Fellow of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain. Late Resident Surgical Officer, Military Hospital & Woodlands Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham; Senior House Surgeon, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital


Medical Directory 1956


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Born on the 13th August 1892 Sydney Malkin was educated at Epworth College, Rhyl, and University College Hospital, London. He qualified M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. in 1915 then went on active service in France as a regimental medical officer. After the war he returned to his studies in 1922, graduating M.B., B.S. and obtaining the fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Later he went on to hold resident posts in London at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, St. Bartholomew's and the Hospital for Sick Children, and in 1923 became resident surgical officer at what is now the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham.


Orthopaedics was a young speciality at that time and Sydney Malkin was inspired by the work of Sir Robert Jones, who developed the treatment and rehabilitation of the war wounded on a national scale. Centres for rehabilitation, like ones developed at Shepherd’s Bush, London, and others of a similar scale, pioneered the way to the training and rehabilitation of the physically handicapped.


Some years earlier Sir Robert Jones and Gathorne Robert Girdlestone had put forward a National Scheme for the Care of Crippled Children. Under the presidency of Winifred, Duchess of Portland, citizens of Nottingham formed a Cripples Guild and in 1923 Sydney Malkin was appointed their first orthopaedic surgeon. Plans were made to build an orthopaedic hospital and a site near Mansfield was given by the Duke of Portland. Jessie Boot, Lord Trent, chairman of Boots, offered the services of his company to build the hospital without profit. This culminated in 1929 when Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital was opened by the Duke and Duchess of York (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Sydney Malkin was appointed surgeon-in-charge and under his supervision the hospital expanded and became well known throughout the orthopaedic world.


After the second world war he planned the Portland Training College, which eventually opened in 1950 with, again, local generous support. He was next involved with Nottinghamshire Education Committee's project for a school for handicapped children, which was completed in 1957 at Thieves Wood near the hospital and training college.


Sydney Malkin held appointments at Newark, Grantham, Loughborough, Mansfield and Retford hospitals, and was President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society. He was President of the Nottingham branch and chairman of the Orthopaedic group of the British Medical Association and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Association in 1961. He was President of the section of orthopaedics in the Royal Society of Medicine in 1936 and of the British Orthopaedic Association in 1948-49. He presided at the joint meeting of the British and Canadian Orthopaedic Associations at Quebec in 1948, and initiated with R. I. Harris of Toronto a scheme for interchange of visits among young American, British and Canadian orthopaedic surgeons. In the same year he was elected to the fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was also a fellow of the Societe Internationale de Chiurgie Orthopedique et de Traumatologie. His work was further recognized by his being appointed C.B.E. in 1958.


During the 1920's he introduced the operation of trochanteric osteotomy for osteo-arthritis of the hip joint. He wrote much both on surgical technique and on training of the disabled. The training and welfare of orthopaedic surgeons and orthopaedic nurses was ever on Malkin’s mind, and shortly before he died the new nurses' building at Harlow Wood Hospital was named the Alan Malkin House.


His writings were varied, ranging from scientific papers on techniques which he had found useful in the operating theatre, to advances in rehabilitation and the training of the disabled. His presidential address delivered before the British Orthopaedic Association was “The Scientific Approach to Orthopaedic Surgery,” a subject in which he had a life long interest. After his retirement in 1958 he was appointed surgeon emeritus at Harlow Wood, but he continued to take an active part in the resettlement of the disabled.


In an obituary William Waugh related on the retirement of Sidney Malkin:-


“It was natural that he should continue to take a great interest in everything that went on at Harlow Wood. He was a member of the management committee and his knowledge of organisation and administration was always available to members of the staff. His advice was frequently asked - no problem was too small or too large to be carefully discussed. His aims and objects were clear: the first thing to be considered was what was best for the patient. His simple criterion led to straightforward solutions of many complicated problems. He was also particularly concerned about the training of orthopaedic nurses and gave much time and thought to improving their conditions of service. His interest in rehabilitation of the disabled never ceased; at the invitation of the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board he began resettlement clinics in Nottingham, Chesterfield, and Mansfield in 1961. Although he had created a comprehensive service based on Harlow Wood he continued to look to the future and up till the time of his death he was making plans for improvements.”


Sir Herbert John Seddon ( President of the British Orthopaedic Association, 1960-61) writes of Malkin as a surgeon and as a friend:-


“Robert Jones’s ability to pick winners was never more evident than the choice of Malkin. Harlow Wood and the Portland Training College were all Malkin’s doing, and there was hardly a national body or committee concerned with the welfare of the disabled that he did not influence. It might be thought from this that he had little time for the practice of surgery. But he was an able and soundly conservative clinician; independently of McMurray he devised the best operation we know for osteo-arthritis of the hip and if he had not been so modest it would possibly have borne his name.”


“Malkin was not so clever as some of his contemporaries, but he rose above them because of his superb character. Here was a man devoid of personal ambition, caring for nothing except the great cause he espoused. His tenacity was increased by opposition or indifference; he was like a bulldog, he never let go; he could move in only one direction, forward. We have lost not only a dear friend but one whose example rebuked self-seeking, timidity, and ennui.”



Norman Capener ( President of the British Orthopaedic Association, 1958-59) describes what he did for his specialty beyond the Midlands:-


“He did original work himself: one of the most notable being his early recognition in the 1920s of the curative effects of trochanteric osteotomy for osteo-arthritis of the hip-joint. In his earlier life he had been influenced particularly by Naughton Dunn in Birmingham and by Reginald Cheyne Elmslie in London. He had a great capacity for organisation; and he took infinite trouble to watch the affairs of the disabled nationally through the Central Council of the Care of Cripples, of which he was a member for many years. In public affairs he gave of his best. In private, he had a quiet personal charm which was altogether delightful. He was temperate in all things. His modest exterior sometimes led people to impose upon him, but he had an extraordinary intuition and he read character to many a person’s discomfiture.”


“Orthopaedics in Great Britain has, like other branches of medicine, developed as an art and a science but, more than most, also as a social service. In all three Malkin made his mark. Not only did he develop a hospital for the routine treatment of cripples from the industrial areas around, but he also built up a place of orthopaedic learning and teaching, which I know he had hoped would form the basis of a great new medical teaching centre in the Midlands.”


R. G. Pulvertaft Orthopaedic Surgeon, Harlow Wood Hospital, sent the following personal appreciation:-


“Alan Malkin will be remembered for his grace and quiet confidence and for his single-minded devotion to the care of the disabled. For him responsibility did not end until all had been done to restore a patient to the art of living. To him, people mattered and it was natural for him to go beyond the line of duty to help them. This was particularly noticeable in his relations with the young men who came to Harlow Wood for training. He was constantly thinking of their future and many owe their position today to his guidance. Alan Malkin sought little for himself except to be given the means to advance the work he had at heart. His humanity and integrity were outstanding and never in the twenty-five years of our friendship did I hear him say a word of unkind or unjust criticism of others.”


R. S. C. returned to his work as a teacher:-


“Alan Malkin was a good friend to many people but perhaps especially to the young men of orthopaedics. At Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital the annual course, which is so successful, has always started with a small speech of welcome by this tall kindly man who took an interest in the problems and ideas of all the students. Since his official retirement his thoughts were constantly on how to improve the facilities for training and research in the Nottingham area, even when pruning his many apple trees or riding the lanes around his home. A generous man of high ideals, he was consumed by an inner fire and he dedicated his life to orthopaedics. How many of us will be able to leave such a tribute to our work as the unique orthopaedic trio of Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital, the Portland Training College for the disabled, and the Thieves Wood School for Handicapped Children, within arrow shot of each other in Sherwood Forest.


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After his death on the 22nd February, 1964, his family formed a trust with a gift from his estate as he had wished. This made it possible to establish a scholarship to sponsor travel by young surgeons and non-medical staff who were based at Harlow Wood Hospital. His contribution to the hospital is also commemorated by the annual ‘Alan Malkin Memorial Lecture.’


This memoir and personal reminiscences of Alan Malkin was compiled from the Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and extracts from obituaries from the British Medical Journal, February 1964, pages 566 and 567. Also The Lancet, dated February 29, 1964, pages 504 and 505. Finally, A History of the British Orthopaedic Association, page 189.


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