Why did you choose your particular specialty?
Right through my training I had wanted to be a knee surgeon and it was only when doing a Fellowship in Nice in 1996 with Professor Pascal Bolieau that, inspired by his enthusiasm, I changed track and became infatuated with the shoulder. It is such a beautiful and complex joint with a huge range of movement and its value is never appreciated until it goes wrong.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’m sure this is the same for all orthopaedic surgeons because we aren’t usually saving lives, but we are improving them and often the best thing we do is get rid of a patients’ pain and get them back doing all the things they want to do but couldn’t because the shoulder didn’t move properly or was painful.
What one thing do you wish every member of the public knew?
You are allowed to question your doctor! This is your body and your health that is being discussed and you need to be the most active and most vocal participant in any decision making. Ask, ask and ask again. Anything you want to know or are worried about, no matter how silly or trivial it may seem. And if your surgeon won’t answer – go and find someone who will.
What three traits define you?
Simplicity – I pride myself that my patients understand what we have been talking about and don’t leave the consultation baffled by lots of complex medical terminology.
Empathy – it is important to have some knowledge of a wide range of jobs, sports and activities so that you can get on the patients’ wavelength and understand why they are suffering.
Humour – seeing a doctor can be a frightening business and, where it is appropriate, I do like to bring a little humour to the situation.
Who is your inspiration?
Professor Pascal Boileau who opened my eyes to the shoulder and helped me learn how to help people suffering because their shoulder is painful or doesn’t work properly.
What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
My family. Sorry but they will always come first and I am so proud of my wonderful wife and stupendous son.
If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
That’s easy, but probably not what anyone would expect. I would love to be middleweight boxing world champion. I love boxing and am fully aware of all the arguments against it, but to be the best in the world would be amazing.
What advances in medicine are you most excited about?
Despite how advanced we think we are, modern medicine is vey basic, very brutal and pretty barbaric. In 50 years time the medical profession will have ceased to be because advances in genetic engineering will have come up with elegant ways of preventing or curing all our illnesses. That opens a huge can of ethical worms and it is there, rather than with the scientific part, where the biggest issues lie.
What (health) app would you most recommend?
The best health app is a simple step counter that can easily be found on any App Store. It is a constant daily reminder to be more active because everyone needs to do that and take control and responsibility for their basic level of health.
Mr Richard Sinnerton, Orthopaedic Surgeon
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Read Mr Sinnerton’s latest article: Frozen shoulder