Dr Albert Hoffa, a son of Richmond

Richmond’s Dr Maurice Hoffa’s son, Albert, also played a pivotal role in medicine. He studied in Germany and followed Julius Wolff (known for Wolff’s Law) as a professor at the University of Berlin. He described a rare fracture of the knee, characterized by enlargement of the fat pad and aggravated by exercise. It was named Hoffa’s syndrome in his honour. In time he became known as the “father of modern orthopedics”, and his Textbook Book of Orthopedics, published in 1891, that brought him world recognition. This work is still in use and so are many of his other writings on fracture, dislocation and massage.  Legend has it that it was Albert who recommended Albert Eugen Fick, the man who developed the contact lens, to bring his ailing wife to Richmond in the Karoo because it had a large, friendly German-speaking community.  Touched by children with poor eyesight, Fick began his research into a lens that could fit onto the eye in Richmond. He perfected when he returned to Germany. Initially he tested the lenses on the eyes of rabbits. He was also the first person in the world to wear contact lenses.


© Rose’s Roundup, April 2012.

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