Obituary: Evan Price, surgeon

Evan Price, who has died at 99, was for 40 years a highly respected orthopaedic surgeon in Barnsley.

Evan Price

Evan Price, who has died at 99, was for 40 years a highly respected orthopaedic surgeon in Barnsley.

Passionate about the NHS, he treated many thousands of patients, first at the Beckett Hospital, which closed in the 1970s, and then at Barnsley District General, where mining injuries dominated his caseload. He treated his last patient at the age of 80.

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He had arrived in the town as its only consultant orthopaedic surgeon and headed up the accident and emergency department. He inherited a four-year waiting list for routine surgery which in two years he managed to reduce to just a few months.

He gained a reputation for innovation, first as a pioneer of hip replacements and later, for safer operating theatres, using compressed air technology to reduce infections. He also trained many doctors from abroad.

He often provided expert opinions for people who had suffered accidents and for organisations representing them, not least the National Union of Mineworkers. His medical evidence helped to secure compensation for many injured miners.

Towards the end of his career, he supported the charity REMAP, designing and building custom-made equipment to help disabled people.

Born in 1921 in the village of Llanon on the coast of Cardigan Bay, he moved with his family to Cardiff at age five. He went to medical school at the city university, and took up a junior doctor post in Liverpool, where he used his fortnightly half-day’s leave to go ice skating.

He saw wartime service in the Army as a medical officer in Italy, Egypt and Palestine, teaching himself Latin in his spare time.

After the hostilities, he resumed his medical career in Bath, now under the umbrella of the NHS. Unusually for a surgeon, he took the exams to become a member of the Royal College of Physicians, and in the process met his late wife, Althea, a junior doctor. They married in 1955 and moved to Sheffield. She became a GP at Hillbrow Surgery in Staincross, Barnsley.

Away from work, he enjoyed amateur theatre and performed in many Gilbert and Sullivan productions. In retirement he was active with the University of the Third Age, giving lectures and attending Italian and play-reading theatre classes. For many years, he opened his home to foreign students and lodgers from all over the world.

He and Althea had three children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.