• Vol. 28 No. 3, 336–341
  • 15 May 1999

9th Chapter of Surgeons’ Lecture: The Orthopaedic Surgeon: Historical Perspective, Ethical Considerations and the Future



From a fishing village with colonial surgeons from the East India Company, Singapore is now a medical and business hub servicing the region and beyond in trade and medical education. Orthopaedic Surgery is a young specialty and is the fastest growing sub-specialty in Surgery. Orthopaedic education in Singapore has a structured syllabus and training is coordinated with the Royal Colleges and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Part of the training as Fellows is in the United Kingdom and USA on an HMDP Fellowship. Ethics and Continuing Medical Education need further emphasis. Sub-specialisation in Orthopaedic Surgery is now well-established in Trauma, Adult Reconstructive Surgery, Sports Medicine, Spinal Surgery, Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine. Ageing in the next millennium with osteoporosis and hip fracture problems of gait and balance need more orthopaedic surgeons to be committed to rehabilitation medicine and voluntary service in the community. There is a need for good role models and knowledge on Quality Assurance, Clinical Pathways and Administration. Appropriate use of high technology and care for the aged in the community with dignity is fundamental to good ethical practice. Selfish, pecuniary interests will destroy the very soul and fabric of medicine.

The legacy of caring and humanitarianism has been the mission of the medical profession since the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. To this small fishing village in the Riau Archipelago on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula came traders and entrepreneurs from China, India and Arabia.

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