W. Robert Harris

W. Robert Harris (1922 – 2005) was a Canadian Orthopaedic Surgeon.

Eponymously associated with the Salter-Harris Classification along with Robert Bruce Salter. Published the Salter-Harris Classification of fractures for epiphyseal injuries in 1963

The son of a Professor and a very well respected Orthopaedic Surgeon in his own right with a long career in Canada, obtaining many awards and titles in the process.

Special interests in epiphyseal plate fractures, slipped capital femoral epiphysis, transplantation of epiphyses, rehabilitation, amputation and the histology of fracture healing

  • Born 1922
  • His Father, Professor Robert I. Harris was the first Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Toronto General Hospital
  • 1945 – graduated with a Honours in Medicine in Toronto
  • 1945 – Surgeon-Lieutenant in the Canadian Navy
  • 1946 – married Barbara-Drew Brook and was Father to four children and then Grandfather to ten grandchildren
  • 1947 – studied Histology under Professor Arthur Ham, contributing to his textbook of Histology with regards to fracture healing
  • 1948-1952 – postgraduate Orthopedic Surgical training, going on to do Fellowships in Europe
  • 1953 Orthopaedic Surgeon, University of Toronto
  • Professor Emeritus of Surgery, University of Toronto
  • Examiner at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • 1968 – President of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association
  • Died on the 13th of December, 2005 from pancreatic cancer in Toronto, Canada
Medical Eponyms
Major Publications
  • Harris WR. The early diagnosis of slipped femoral epiphysis. Can Med Assoc J. 1955 Jun 1;72(11):835-7. [PMC1825915]
  • Harris WR. Surgical procedures of value in rheumatoid arthritis. Can Med Assoc J. 1956 Apr 1; 74(7): 512–514. [PMC1823120]
  • Harris WR, Hobson KW. Histological changes in experimentally displaced upper femoral epiphyses in rabbits. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1956 Nov;38-B(4):914-21. [PMID 13376679]
  • Dale GG, Harris WR. Prognosis of epiphysial separation: an experimental study. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1958 Feb;40-B(1):116-22. [PMID 13513660]
  • Harris WR. Trigger Wrist with Intermittent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Can Med Assoc J. 1961 Apr 29;84(17):963. [PMC1939529]
  • Salter RB, Harris WR. Injuries involving the epiphyseal plate. Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (American) 1963; 45(3): 587-622 [Salter-Harris Classification]
  • Salter RB. W. Robert Harris (1922–2005). J Bone Joint Surg [Br] 2006;88-B:698.
  • Hunter TB, Peltier LF, Lund PJ. Radiologic history exhibit. Musculoskeletal eponyms: who are those guys? RadioGraphics 2000; 20: 819-36. [Full Text]

eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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