Presentation to honour the pioneer of hip replacements

A bronze bust of Kenneth McKee, the Norwich surgeon who pioneered primary hip replacements in Norwich in the 1950s, is being presented to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Saturday 26 June by Mr Hugh Phillips, the in-coming President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and Mr Keith Tucker, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at NNUH.

The bust was made by McKee’s daughter-in-law, the Belgian sculptor Myriam McKee, shortly before the surgeon’s death in 1991. It was bought by Mr Phillips, who followed in Mr McKee’s footsteps and joined the orthopaedic team at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in 1973.

“I felt it was important to honour Mr McKee as he made such a significant contribution to the health of so many people in East Anglia over so many years,” said Mr Phillips.

“McKee started experimenting with model hip joints in 1938, working with dentists and an engineering firm in the city centre to create the original brass mock-ups. He even went off to war with one of them in his pocket! He carried out his first primary hip replacement on a patient in 1951 – before Sir John Charnley perfected his own version – and there are many patients walking around today who are still extremely grateful to him.

“Around 80,000 hip replacements are carried out in this country every year and it’s become a 4.7 billion dollar worldwide industry.”

Mr Phillips takes up his post as president of the Royal College of Surgeons in July, following his retirement from NNUH earlier this year.

Also present at Saturday’s presentation will be Keith Tucker, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at NNUH, who worked as Kenneth McKee’s houseman at the N&N.

Hospital Arts Co-ordinator Emma Jarvis commented: “We are extremely grateful for the donation of this bust, which will go on display near the teaching centre in the East Atrium.

“It’s good to have a visual reminder of Mr McKee’s contribution to the hospital and to show the connection between medicine and history.”

The Hospital Arts Project is currently fundraising for a number of projects, including a campaign to brighten up the children’s department. If you would like to help with this campaign, contact Emma Jarvis on Norwich 287870.

Friday 25th of June 2004 10:00:38 AM