On Sunday 30 May this year our friend and former colleague and mentor, Dr George Chapman, died quietly at home in Sydney.
George had been an important part of the Sydney radiological and orthopaedic world virtually from his time of graduation from the University of Sydney in 1955. He obtained his membership of the then Royal Australasian College of Radiologists in 1960, having completed his resident medical and radiological medical training at St Vincent’s.
As a radiologist he practiced as an HMO at St Vincent’s and the Mater hospitals from 1960 to 1969. In that period he helped establish very active and well respected private radiological clinics in Ryde and Chatswood, initially with John Carroll and later with Barry Figtree and Philippe Scamps. He continued in those practices until his retirement in 1995.
From 1970 he was a visiting medical officer at Royal North Shore Hospital, where he remained until his retirement. As a VMO he helped train radiology and orthopaedic trainees as the prime musculoskeletal radiologist at RNS. He was always a superbly thoughtful and innovative plain radiograph “bone” radiologist - always insisting on relating and correlating the pathoanatomy to the radiographic demonstration. He established with Professor Tom Taylor the early Friday morning clinical orthopaedic meeting which continued for over 20 years. This meeting, somewhat feared by the radiology and orthopaedic registrars asked to describe and diagnose the radiographs, was immensely useful as a forum for virtually all interesting and difficult orthopaedic and spinal problems presenting at RNS and adjacent areas in Sydney.
He also established with Professor Stan McCarthy, the NSW Bone tumour registry weekly meeting at Royal Prince Alfred where he was the prime radiologist for decades. Internationally he was well respected by many of the world-renowned musculoskeletal radiologists of the era, many of whom travelled to Sydney and RNS to visit him and present at meetings there. He was an early member of the International Skeletal Society, often presenting at the closed sessions.
George Chapman was universally regarded as an excellent clinician and radiologist and he effectively became the mentor of several generations of radiologists and orthopaedic and spinal surgeons at RNS and throughout Sydney. He was a thoroughly engaging raconteur and had superb timing, which he demonstrated to the end - having an 89th birthday party with Hilde his wife of 37 years and his family and close friends earlier on the day he died.
He will be missed ‒ a true gentleman.
Bruno Giuffrè 3.6.21