Mr Furlong rose to the rank of Brigadier, commanding orthopaedic Units in North Africa, Egypt and Italy and this experience was invaluable to his orthopaedic career. In 1969 he became Director of the Orthopaedic Department at St Thomas’ Hospital, where one of his responsibilities was the teaching of hip replacement surgery.
Mr Furlong was responsible for a revolution in artificial joint and implant design, dramatically transforming the long-term results of joint replacements and the lives of many patients.
In 1979 he designed one of the first straight stem prostheses for use with cement. As a pioneering surgeon and using his knowledge of biomechanics, he designed a ‘HAC coated prosthesis’ that is now proven to be mechanically stable and achieves long-lasting physiological fixation. The key to the success of Hydroxyapatite Ceramic (HAC) or “bone without the gift of life” is that it is the mineral substance that gives bone its hardness and within just three days begins to be covered and bonds with the patient’s own bone.
Throughout Mr Furlong’s long working life, he was supported by his wife, Eileen. He always acknowledged her as the “driving force” behind his achievements and together they made a formidable team. Their concern was always that the patient should come first, and although Mr Furlong died in 2002 and Mrs Furlong one year later, their pride and passion continues. They would be delighted to see how their charitable aims have developed, knowing it ultimately is for the benefit of patients.