Harold Arthur Thomas Fairbank qualified in medicine at the Charing Cross Hospital in 1898. After serving as a Volunteer in the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902), he trained in surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street and in 1906 he was appointed Orthopaedic Surgeon to the Charing Cross Hospital. In 1914, during World War I, he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in France and Flanders. After war service he was appointed orthopaedic surgeon at King’s College Hospital, London, where he remained until he retired in 1936.
Nearly 70 years ago Sir Thomas Fairbank published the first detailed account of a disorder that he described as ‘dysplasia epiphysialis multiplex’. This remarkable paper was the product of over 35 years of clinical investigation and documented the clinical and radiographic findings of 20 patients with MED that he had diagnosed between 1909 and 1946.
Although Fairbank concluded that MED, ‘as a rule, is not inherited or familial’, ensuing reports clearly established that MED could be inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder (see Waugh 1952; Maudsley 1955; Shephard 1956).
Roy Homer Maudsley FRS (1918-2011)
Other historical papers describing MED can be found here:-