Blood and Bone: Revelations of an Orthopaedic Surgeon by Russell Tregonning


ISBN: 978-1-99-115913-7
Softcover / 300pp
18 colour photographs

Russell Tregonning finished his fifty-year career in medicine as one of New Zealand’s leading orthopaedic surgeons and as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Otago School of Medicine.

This memoir takes the reader through his journey from medical student to orthopaedic surgeon – from introducing pioneering techniques in reconstructive surgery, to personal struggles with depression, medical mishaps, run-ins with senior surgeons, and sexism in the workplace. It is a fascinating look behind the façade of one of the most respected of professions.

This is the best kind of memoir. It is very honest, including talking about mental health troubles. It doesn’t skip the controversial bits, including outrageous bullying of women and junior staff by some senior surgeons. And it’s interesting, taking readers into the operating theatre and describing the remarkable daily job of sawing and hammering people’s bones. — Nicky Hager

This book is a fascinating insight into a facet of life where very few venture. Russell lays bare his frailties, his fears, his triumphs and vision. He is gloriously self-effacing, happy to concede he didn’t always get it right and fearlessly outlines his thoughts on the medical profession and medical politics. A great read. — Grant Nisbett


Russell Tregonning, an orthopaedic and knee specialist, trained in New Zealand, England and Canada. A senior consultant for over 40 years, he also lectured at Otago University medical school in Wellington, New Zealand. His passionate interest in the evolving science of knee injuries and arthroscopic and knee replacement surgery have made him a sought-after speaker to doctors and the sports medicine community. A resident of Wellington, he is an environmental activist, working with a team of medical professionals to alert the public to the dangers that the climate crisis poses to human health. His first book, They Made Me: Granny Gridgeman and My Otago Family Pioneers, was 2021 co-winner of the Kevin McAnulty Award of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists.