n the last 100 years, only five people have played professional rugby and successfully graduated as doctors. Dr Merv Cross is one of them. It was therefore no surprise that Dr Cross would go on to become one of the medical profession’s most outstanding Knee Surgeons, after pioneering arthroscopic surgery and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in Australia. His clinical standing was exemplified with his appointment as Director of Orthopaedics for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. During his professional career, Dr Cross turned his attention to ensuring that the profession he loved and the standard of surgery he practised and taught were not threatened by government intervention or commercial interests. He put it all on the line in the 1984 Doctors’ Dispute. From 1989-1996 he served as Chairman of the Australian Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons, using his influence at the highest levels of Australian society to ensure the voice of independent medicine was heard with clarity and truth.
As an esteemed role model for younger Orthopaedic Surgeons and Sports Medicine Practitioners, Dr Cross insists that the role of the doctor is to deliver a clinically excellent result, and not to be side-tracked by other agendas, ideas and proposals that churn out of committees and government departments. Dr Cross’s clinical achievements are matched by a friendly and authentically Australian disposition. When he speaks, others listen. When he teaches, younger colleagues gather around. His willingness to represent the profession at the highest levels at difficult times may never be fully appreciated by those who have benefited from it. The ADF recognises Dr Cross’s outstanding contribution to independent medicine and his commitment to clinical excellence by presenting him with the Bruce Shepherd Medal.