Hugh Owen Thomas 1834-1891

Hugh Owen Thomas was born at Bodedern, Anglesey, on August 23, 1834. He was descendedfrom a well-known family of bonesetters, who for three generations had practiced their art in North Wales. 220

Hugh Owen Thomas started practice on his own at 24 Hardy Street in 1859 and became medical officer to several labour organisations and societies. He married Elizabeth, the daughter of Robert Jones of RhyL, (of bandage fame)

Thomas is mostly remembered for his innovative splint which bears his name and is still in use today worldwide. was to be the main teacher of his nephew Robert and was an extremely hard worker.

Thomas’s methods gained some acceptance, but wider take-up was slow. This was not helped by his abrasive personality. He was not considered a Gentleman by his fellow collegues because his social skills were low. He was ignored and his ideas were completely shelved during his lifetime. The result was numerous children left untreated and out of sight in homes and hospitals. Thomas’s methods finally gained greater acceptance during the Great War. Sir Robert Jones, his nephew advocated the the use of the Thomas splint, it is believed to have saved the lives of thousands of soldiers who would otherwise have died from their limb injuries. 246


He is said to have died of exhaustion because of his workload.




Ken True History of Surgery and Anaesthesia