Original Article

HSS Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 1-8

First online:

The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled Renamed The Hospital for Special Surgery 1940; The War Years 1941–1945

  • David B. LevineAffiliated withWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityDivision of Education, Hospital for Special Surgery Email author 

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In 1939, the 75th anniversary program marking the founding of the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled (R & C), the oldest orthopaedic hospital in the nation, was held at the hospital site in New York City. Dr. Philip D. Wilson, Surgeon-in-Chief since 1935, used this event to mark the return of the hospital to its leadership role in the country. When the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled first opened its doors on May 1, 1863, the name of the hospital was not unusual; it described the type of patients treated. In 1940, the Board of Managers with guidance from Dr. Wilson changed the name to the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). In 1941, with Britain engaged in a European war, Dr. Wilson felt there was a need for the Americans to support the British. He personally organized the American Hospital in Britain, a privately funded voluntary unit, to help care for the wounded. After the United States actually entered World War II in December 1941, HSS quickly organized support at all levels with a significant number of professional and auxiliary staff, eventually enlisting in the military. Even with such staff turnover, the hospital continued to function under Dr. Wilson’s leadership. After the war ended in 1945, Wilson forged ahead to further restore HSS as a leader in musculoskeletal medicine and surgery.


Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled (R & C) Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Philip D. Wilson Eugene H. Pool Harry Platt American Hospital in Britain Franklin D. Roosevelt Robert Lee Patterson, Jr. Richard H.Freyberg Norman T. Kirk T. Campbell Thompson Milton Helpern