John Charnley was born in Bury in 1911 and began his surgical career in the 1930s.
After serving in Dunkirk and running an orthopaedic hospital in Cairo during the Second World, he returned to Manchester.
John Charnley replaced Sir Harry Platt as Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1947. The post required that Charnley be Consultant at Wrightington for one day per month. Wrightington had been a specialist hospital treating tuberculosis (TB) since the early 1930s.
By the time he assumed his post, new antibiotics were making more radical surgery on infected joints possible.
Charnley’s research in Manchester after the Second World War on the treatment of fractures had already revealed his close interest in the application of engineering principles to orthopaedic surgery.
By the mid 1950s in-patients at Wrightington could look forward to returning home a lot earlier. The freeing up of bed space raised the possibility of developing orthopaedic research and led Charnley to establish a unit for non-TB hip conditions.
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