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Josep Trueta (1897–1977)


Josep Anthony Trueta was a Catalan doctor and orthopaedic surgeon. During the Spanish Civil War, when he was chief of trauma services for Barcelona, he developed innovatory methods of wound treatment.

In 1923 Trueta married Amelia Llacuna, and they had three daughters and a son (who died at the age of four).

Trueta escaped with his family from Barcelona to Britain in 1939, and became an adviser to the Ministry of Health. In September 1939 G. R. Girdlestone, the first Nuffield professor of orthopaedic surgery, heard Trueta lecture on bombing casualties and invited him to Oxford. Their friendship led to the establishment of the Oxford school of orthopaedics and the Wingfield-Morris Hospital (now the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre).

Truet and his family lived in Headington: first from 1940 to 1943 at Greycot in Manor Road (now the site of 16 Osler Road), and then at Overmead in Jack Straw’s Lane until 1966.

In 1949 Trueta was appointed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Worcester College. He retired in 1966 and moved back to Barcelona. His biography Gathorne Robert Girdlestone was written there and published by Oxford University Press in 1971.

Trueta died in Barcelona in 1977. A memorial service was held for him the University Church of St Mary the Virgin a few months later.


See also
  • Josep Trueta’s autobiography, Trueta :Surgeon in War and Peace, tr Meli and Michael Strubell (London: Gollancz, 1980). It gives some details of his residence, with two pictures of Overmead
  • Martin J. Harris, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre: A Pictorial History, which has a photograph of Trueta on p. 35, and another showing him carving the Christmas Day lunch in Burrows Ward on p. 36.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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