January 1988 - Volume 3

Sir Reginald Watson Jones, Who died in 1972 at the age of 70, was probably the most colourful & dynamic of all the fracture Sur­geons of his   time. His attitude towards fracture treatment is perhaps best summed up in the following quotation made in a speech in his honour New York — "To Sir Reginald Watson Jones, always positive, never in doubt & by the grace of God usually right"!   His views on the union of fractures were much influenced by his predecessors at Liver Pool, Sir Robert Jones & Hugh Owen Thomas. These views may be summarised in the statements made in his book that" The cause   of non-union of fractures is inade­quate immobilisation" and that "non-union of fractures due to failure of Surgeons much more than to the failure of Osteoblasts." This has led to the unfair criticism that Sir Reginald would immobilise a fracture inde­finitely in plaster to the detriment of limb function, a criticism which   also led the opposite school of fracture treatment at St. Thomas' Hospital to deride prolonged immo­bilisation with the comment "Plaster means Disaster." Sir Reginald who essentially a conservative surgeon as far as  fracture treatment was concerned and once describe himself as a 'Physicion destined to the role of a Surgeon. He would never have agreed with the philosophy of the Swiss school of Surgeons who have advocated primary inter­nal fixation of fractures to avoid 'the fracture disease' of prolonged immobilisation. The only fracture disease that Sir Reginald recognised was that brought about by iatrogenie diasters and on many occasions showed conclusively that prolonged immobi­lisation of normal joints did not produce stiffness.