Complex Skeletal Trauma

The South Africa Orthopaedic Trauma business unit hosted a Masters Fracture Forum was held from 2-4 August 2013 at Umhlanga, South Africa.

This meeting was aimed at the experienced orthopaedic surgeon who has a special interest in complex skeletal trauma. The course format followed a practical, case-discussion based forum for key opinion leaders in orthopaedic trauma to discuss and debate current trends in this field.


International Guest Speaker

Dr David Goodier

Mr David Goodier is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Princess Grace Hospital, London, UK. His special interests include sports injuries to the lower limb, joint arthroscopy, as well as the management of complex fractures, non-union and post-fracture deformities.

He has pioneered limb reconstruction surgery in the UK through the use of the Ilizarov frame and other external fixators and lectures worldwide on these techniques.


Chairman and Course Facilitator

Dr Franz Birkholz

Dr Franz Birkholtz is an orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in trauma and limb reconstruction.

Dr Birkholtz is considered a world authority in the field of circular fixators and is closely involved in training as well as the development of these instruments. He studied at the University of Pretoria and currently teaches courses in South Africa and abroad. He practices from Centurion with rooms in Lifestyle Management Park next to Unitas Hospital.


Dr Birkholz led an interactive discussion-based ethics session entitled: 

When is trauma complex? Should everyone be treating trauma?

The basic principles of medical ethics and the concept of different levels of complexity in orthopaedic trauma were introduced.The discussion centered around how trauma surgery is often performed by the available surgeon, irrespective of how complex it is, and often with very little peer review or control mechanisms. The delegates looked at how ethics principles applied to specific case examples. 

A second ethics session considered how the fracture burden on society is large and increasing. Resources are limited and getting progressively more scarce.Against this background, how do orthopaedic surgeons  continue to render appropriate levels of care to everyone?

These questions raised various ethical dilemmas related to concepts like legal obligation, distributive justice, patient autonomy etc. These conflicts and realities were explored by way of case examples and an interactive discussion based on medical ethics principles.