Eminent orthopaedic surgeon retires after exceptional career

October 2nd, 2015

Professor Angus Wallace, a leading figure in British orthopaedic surgery and academic research is retiring from his NHS role in Nottingham after a surgical career spanning more than four decades.

For the past 35 years, Professor Wallace has also pioneered cutting edge research and orthopaedic inventions at The University of Nottingham, gaining international recognition during his very eventful career.

He came to widespread public notice for a life-saving surgery he performed using improvised surgical equipment on a British Airways flight in 1995 and also advised on the fitness of Wayne Rooney to play in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Life-saving career

Following his mid-air heroics, Professor Wallace was one of the first recipients of the Weigelt-Wallace Award that acknowledges exceptional examples of patient care. Margaret Thatcher who presented the award praised his “courage, capacity for split-second decision-making and his can-do approach”. Professor Wallace donated his £33,000 prize towards medical research at The University of Nottingham.

Earlier in his career he treated a number of victims of the 1989 Kegworth air disaster, in which a British Midland flight crashed onto the embankment of the M1 motorway, and conducted further investigations into injuries sustained in the crash.

Following half-a-decade of research he concluded that passengers who failed to adopt the brace position correctly sustained more injuries. His research team’s suggestion of a different brace position was adopted by all UK airlines by 1999.

Huge honour

Reflecting on his career, Professor Wallace said: “It has been a huge honour for me to have served The University of Nottingham for the last 30 years as the Professor of Orthopaedic & Accident Surgery. The University has given me huge support in developing an international name as an Academic Professor of Orthopaedics, an Expert Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon and as an inventor, publishing over 300 research papers and raising the profile of the University and Nottingham University Hospitals world-wide for high quality surgery. My academic orthopaedic colleagues, Professor Brigitte Scammell and Professor Roger Bayston will continue to provide high quality teaching and research after my retirement.

“I am proud to have trained over 30 expert shoulder surgeons who are now working both in the UK and across the world in over 12 other countries (Australia, South Korea, Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa, Sweden, Hungary, Israel, Ireland, France, Greece and the Middle East).

“Sports Medicine is now a more developed area compared with when I set up the first UK Masters degree (MSc) in Sports Medicine with Professor Idris Williams (General Practice) in 1991, supported by Professor Peter Fentem (then Dean of the Medical School) with our first MSc students graduating in 1993. I established the Centre for Sports Medicine in 1995 with Dr Mark Batt who was UK trained in General Practice but also trained in Sports Medicine at the University of California.

“On the Engineering front, I set up the Institute of Bioengineering in 2000 with Dr Donal McNally, now Associate Professor who continues to carry out very successful bioengineering collaboration with doctors and surgeons.

“As an Emeritus Professor I have decided to continue with my research profile with further research papers on Shoulder Surgery and Innovation as well as continuing to work as a Consultant on my medical devices – the ‘Vaios Shoulder Replacement’ with JRI Orthopaedics Ltd and the ‘Infinity-Lock’ device for the reinforcement of joint ligaments with Xiros Ltd. I will be ‘hanging up my scalpel’ but will be happy to support Nottingham University Hospitals as a Mentor and an Appraiser.”

Emiretus Professorship

The Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, Professor Sir David Greenaway, said: “Angus’ contribution to the world of orthopaedic surgery and research has been and will no doubt continue to be significant. He has been a popular and inspirational leader of research and teaching whose visionary ambitions and achievements have enthused the team around him. He has pioneered revolutionary surgical techniques which have made a dramatic difference to patients, and his passenger safety research has had a wide impact in preventing and minimising injury in accidents. We are delighted he will be continuing his research here as Emeritus Professor.”

Quote from Prof John Atherton, PVC Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences: “Thanks to Angus, the University has one of the best respected academic divisions of Orthopaedics and Accident Surgery in the UK. His leadership and charisma have driven this achievement, and we are really glad that we will benefit from his continuing association with us as an Emeritus Professor. His students and trainees have been inspired to become top orthopaedic surgeons and his research has had real influence on patients. Increasingly universities are getting involved with innovation and invention in partnership with industry, and Angus has pioneered this field. I particularly like the screwdriver which is fixed to the screw during surgery so it cannot slip off! The whole Faculty would like to thanks Angus, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Professor Wallace has received the following commendations and awards:

1.) Master’s Letter of Commendation from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (1995)

2.) Great Scot – Science and Medicine Award (1995)

3.) People of the Year Award – RADAR (1995)

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