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Sydney Shoulder Research Institute - Current Fellows
2016 Fellow

David O'Briain


David O’Briain

2016 Fellow


Born to Irish parents in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1979, I lived 18 months as a yank before returning to Ireland. I grew up in Dublin and enjoyed enjoyable and successful academic and sporting careers in Blackrock College, culminating in a place in medical school and a trip to the inaugural World Schools Rugby Championship in 1998. I attended University College Dublin to study medicine from 1998 to 2004. Along the way I maintained my interests in travelling and rugby, working for summers in France, California and Long Island, travelling through Europe and Australia and playing Rugby for UCD while also managing and captaining the St Vincent’s Hospital Rugby team.

After my year of internship in St Vincents, I travelled to Australia in 2005 to work as an RMO in Royal North Shore Hospital. During that year I worked in orthopaedics under Prof Sonnabend and a new young consultant by the name of Ben Cass. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in RNSH and, due to the quality of education and the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff, gave serious consideration to staying and pursuing my orthopaedic training in Oz.

I had, however, met a special lady during my time in Sydney, and she was from Dublin. I returned to Ireland and completed basic surgical training in Mayo and Galway followed by a year of clinical research for a Masters degree in surgery in the National University of Ireland, Galway. My thesis entitled “The role of the antioxidants ascorbic acid and n-acetylcysteine in the attenuation of ischaemia reperfusion injury in a human model” was awarded by NUIG.

After a year as an orthopaedic registrar in Dublin, I obtained a place on the orthopaedic higher specialist training (HST) programme. The national training programme admits only 8 trainees per year for the entire country and I was delighted to be accepted at the first attempt.

Over the course of the 6 years on the HST scheme, Ruth and I, got married, moved 5 times to cities all around Ireland, and had three beautiful children.

I was awarded a masters in science (healthcare informatics) in 2012 by UCD. Realising my interest lay in surgery of the upper limb, I was able to tailor my training to optimize exposure to my chosen field, particularly in the last 2 years of the scheme. As a result I had the privilege to work for half of all the orthopaedic upper limb surgeons in the country.

I obtained my FRCS (Tr & Orth) in December 2014 and was awarded the certificate of completion of specialist training (CCST) in June 2016

Fellowship Story

The travel bug that brought Ruth and I together in Sydney in 2005 needed another adventure and so we set off in June 2016 to join the SSRI fellowship, excited by the opportunity of once again experiencing life in Sydney and the excellent orthopaedic training under Prof Sonnabend and Drs Cass, Young and Hughes.

As I write this, our year in Sydney is coming to a close and we have had a fantastic experience here, both socially and professionally. We are once again entering the nervous, excited phase of moving house across continents. This time we are destined for Tampa, Florida and a final year of fellowship training under Mark Frankle and Mark Mighell. Once again the travel bug needs to be sated and we are gearing up with anticipation for our final stop before our return home to Ireland. I have been awarded a consultant post in University Hospital, Waterford which I am due to take up in September 2018.