Perfect tribute to our own plastic surgery pioneer
Thursday 24 June saw a poignant celebration for the Plastic Surgery Department as Mr Earle Brown, former registrar and surgeon at Middlemore, presented his book on Sir William Manchester, a leader and political mentor on the world stage of plastic and reconstructive surgery and the founder of the Plastic Surgery department at Middlemore Hospital.
'Perfection – the life and times of Sir William Manchester', co-authored by Michael F. Klaassen - also a former registrar at CM Health - delves into the life and accomplishments of the internationally renowned plastic surgeon.
From small beginnings in rural Waimate, Sir William rose to the rank of battalion medical officer with the New Zealand Army in World War II and in 1941 was selected to train as a plastic surgeon under the supervision of four pioneers of plastic surgery.
In 1950 he established the Plastic Surgery Unit at Middlemore Hospital, where he trained generations of young surgeons and nurses and became a world expert on the multi-disciplinary management of cleft lip and palate.
Mr Brown's relationship with CM Health spans over 45 years and played a large part in his inspiration for the project. He first came to Middlemore Hospital as a student in 1960 and worked here as a registrar and then plastic surgeon until 2005.
He also described the project as 'quite a journey' involving a lot of detective work having been given three boxes of archives from the Manchester home.
"I was curious about the man himself and as such the book is about the man and his life, not just about his surgical work, so there was a lot of interviewing people who knew him and worked with him.
"It took three years to write from when we decided to proceed, the big moment came when the publisher (Mary Egan Publishing) viewed the manuscript, liked the project and agreed to publish it. Much credit goes to the publisher who edited the text, formatted our work, and made it what it is today."
During the celebration, Mr Brown delivered a speech and donated a copy of the book to the Plastics Surgery library for all to enjoy.
He was accompanied to the celebration by proud family members including his daughters, sons in law and grandchildren. Representatives of the Sir William and Lady Manchester Charitable Trust, who funded the book, also attended to mark the occasion.
The book was well-received and you can read more about 'Perfection – the life and times of Sir William Manchester' here.