Tony Ratliff is remembered as a leading orthopaedic surgeon who delighted in passing on his skills and expertise to generations of students and postgraduates in his teaching role at Bristol Royal Infirmary and elsewhere. But he himself is aware of the inspiring guidance he was given in his early days by two of the true giants of the profession in Britain in the mid-twentieth Century, Sir Harry Platt and Sir John Charnley, and his perceptive reminiscences of these two contrasting personalities are among the highlights of this absorbing book. He also looks back on his Manchester childhood, student days in that city at a time when surviving Hitler’s bombs sometimes seemed to take priority over all else, and his grounding in the pioneering days of the National Health Service at hospitals in Staffordshire and Shropshire. As his career progressed through appointments in Edinburgh and Southend before his defining move to Bristol, he rose to high office in various professional associations and built up ties in several parts of the world, not least the United States, Canada and India and Pakistan, where an unforgettable visit in 1991 gave him and his colleagues a candid insight into orthopaedic surgery in another culture. In this book Tony Ratliff, now in his nineties, looks back on his eventful working life, which continued until 2008, at around the time of his 87th birthday. As those who know him would expect, he does so with affection, amusement, occasional exasperation – and always the unerring attention to detail born of his unforgiving profession.
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