The Thomas Splint.

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Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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The Thomas Splint. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

About this work


With footage of North Wales, we learn about a dynasty of bone-setters starting with Evan Thomas and Hugh Owen Thomas who was the most famous creating the 'Thomas' or 'Bed Knee' splint. The family over several generations were famous for their extraordinarly bonesetting skill. The value of the Thomas Splint is described and illustrated using diagrams. The two competing forces which can lead to deformity are counterbalanced by the splint. The action of the splint is then seen in practice with an adult male patient detailing all the required hospital equipment. The patient is anaesthetised. After the splint is in position, nursing is important to maintaining recovery. A physiotherapist helps and the patient is served a nutrious meal in bed (together with a half pint of stout). To help with boredom, the patient learns basket weaving whilst smoking a pipe. The patient is assisted by two nurses as he weight bears on his leg. Later in physiotherapy, two men demonstrate their full recovery.


England, 1959.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (23:01 min.) : sound, color.



Copyright note

Smith and Nephew Ltd.

Terms of use

Unrestricted / Open.

Creator/production credits

A Derek Stewart Production. Directed by Derek Stewart, Photographed by Harold Case, Edited by Paul Shortall, Diagram Artists Robert Lumley, Douglas Kidd.

Language note

In English.


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