The Hospital for Special Surgery 1955 to 1972: T. Campbell Thompson Serves as Sixth Surgeon-in-Chief 1955–1963 Followed by Robert Lee Patterson, Jr. the Seventh Surgeon-in-Chief 1963–1972
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- Levine, D.B. HSS Jrnl (2010) 6: 1. doi:10.1007/s11420-009-9136-5
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After two decades as the fifth Surgeon-in-Chief (1935–1955) of The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), Philip Duncan Wilson, MD (1886–1969) retired, having implemented, during his administration, major changes in the hospital. The first most important accomplishment was finalizing a formal affiliation with New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in 1955 and moving adjacent to the medical campus at 535 East 70th Street. The second was changing the name of the Hospital in 1940 from The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled to The Hospital for Special Surgery. During the two decades as Surgeon-in-Chief, Dr. Wilson was able to reestablish the hospital as a foremost hospital in the orthopedic world. The Board of Managers of the New York Society for the Relief of the Ruptured and Crippled appointed T. Campbell Thompson, MD (1902–1986), as the sixth Surgeon-in-Chief of The Hospital for Special Surgery. He assumed that office on July 1, 1955. During the previous year, Dr. Thompson served as President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Philip D. Wilson, upon his retirement as Surgeon-in-Chief, took on a newly created role as Director of Research at HSS. In 1962, adverse relations between The Hospital for Special Surgery and New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center seriously threatened the continued affiliation agreement between the two hospitals. Because of difficulties over a faculty and staff appointment, Dr. Thompson resigned from the office of Surgeon-in-Chief. He was replaced in1963 by Robert Lee Patterson, Jr., MD (1907–1994), who had first joined the staff of The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled in 1936 as a Visiting Surgeon.
KeywordsPhilip D. WilsonT. Campbell ThompsonRobert Lee Patterson Jr.Preston WadePhilip D. Wilson Jr.John R. CobbRobert H. FreibergerGoran C. H. BauerLee Ramsay StraubAllan E. InglisHarlan AmstutzDavid B. LevineThomas P. SculcoLeon RootPeter Bullough
After two decades as the fifth Surgeon-in-Chief (1935–1955) of The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), Philip Duncan Wilson, MD (1886–1969) retired, having implemented, during his administration, major changes in the hospital. The first most important accomplishment was finalizing a formal affiliation with New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in 1955, and moving adjacent to the medical campus at 535 East 70th Street .
The second was changing the name of the Hospital in 1940 from The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled (R&C) to The Hospital for Special Surgery . During the two decades as Surgeon-in-Chief, Dr. Wilson was able to reestablish the hospital as a foremost leader in the orthopedic world [3, 4].
The Board of Managers of the New York Society for the Relief of the Ruptured and Crippled appointed T. Campbell Thompson, MD (1902–1986), as the sixth Surgeon-in-Chief of The Hospital for Special Surgery. He assumed that office on July 1, 1955. During the previous year, Dr. Thompson served as President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Philip D. Wilson, upon his retirement as Surgeon-in-Chief, took on the newly created role as Director of Research at HSS.
T. Campbell Thompson was born November 11, 1902 in Ishpeming, MI. Ishpeming is a native American word for heaven and was a small town in Michigan known for the origin of organized skiing in the USA and its iron ore mines. His father, Henry S. Thompson, was in the mining business as was his maternal grandfather. His mother, Myrtle T. Thompson, named their son Theodore after her brother and Campbell after his father’s brother. Theodore Campbell Thompson (he never liked either given name), growing up, was called Pete by his father and brothers. Eventually, he settled for T. Campbell but was better known for the rest of his life by his friends and relatives as Tommy. His initials TCT were widely recognized in his later professional life at the hospital .
In his teenage years, he was known to dislike having his picture taken and once was quoted as saying, “I hate mirrors.” In the many sports in which he acquired a skill, tennis and swimming were his favorites and later golf. His love for playing the piano often resulted in playing duets with his younger sister. In later years (September 1934), when Thompson came on staff at R&C, he rented a one-bedroom apartment in Tudor City1 and bought his first piece of furniture, a piano.
Educated at the local high school and University of Michigan (1920–1921), he received his A.B. degree from Rollins College in 1924. In the summer of 1923, Thompson experienced a horrendous accident. While working in a steel mill on the night shift running a planer (set at 0.75 in.), his left arm went through the planer up to his elbow. He was able to turn off the machine. No one was near, and because of the usual loud factory clamor, his attempt to call for help went unheeded. So he decided to reverse the machine to extract his arm but in the process suffered severe soft tissue injury to the arm. Several orthopedic consultants recommended amputation, but a local surgeon was able to save the arm after multiple tendon and skin graft procedures, allowing him to return to classes in the fall .
Thompson was accepted at Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1924 and received his MD degree in 1928. Having decided to go into orthopedics, he did his residency at Johns Hopkins under Dr. George Bennett (1885–1962), Professor of Orthopaedics2. Thompson also spent some time as a Resident Surgeon at the Wingfield Morris Orthopaedic Hospital in Oxford, England in 1934. There, he published a paper on Experimental Muscular Atrophy, while working at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology . In a rabbit study (ten normal and two with miliary tuberculosis), he immobilized the rabbits in plaster, resulting in extensive muscular atrophy, and showed that any atrophy could be lessened considerably by weight bearing.
Having settled in New York as a young attending on staff at R&C, Thompson married Cornelia Tomlin (August 1935), whom he had met 9 years earlier. Her father was a judge, and her grandfather, Colonel Walter Taylor, was the Adjutant to General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. Their first child, Robert, was born in 1938, and daughter, Cornelia, followed in 1940. Robert eventually became an orthopedic surgeon and practiced in Maryland.
During World War II, Thompson served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, heading the Amputation Center at Walter Reed Army Hospital with Major Donald B. Slocum, MD.
Besides being a superb teacher, clinician, and surgeon, Thompson made significant contributions to the field of orthopedics, many of which are still referred to today. In 1944, he published his surgical procedure of the quadricepsplasty to improve knee function . This technique was used to release a stiff knee following a fracture or other femoral trauma. Results of this surgery were favorably reported in the literature, particularly in British journals.
Thompson had extensive experience in post polio deformities. With co-authors Drs. Thomas and Straub, in 1950, he published a technique for transplanting the external oblique muscle for hip abductor paralysis . Dr. Thompson performed the first of these procedures in 1941. Their study of 25 patients showed mixed results with only three patients having excellent results and none having the abductor limp eliminated. Yet, in those days, this operative technique was considered one of the best.
In 1954, Dr. Thompson, Dr. Lee Ramsay Straub, and Dr. Rolla D. Campbell reported on the evaluation of femoral shortening with intramedullary nailing in 22 patients . Their conclusions were that the Kuntscher nail alone does not provide secure internal fixation and recommended oblique osteotomy with screw fixation.
A classic article, published in 1957 by Drs. Thompson, Straub, and Arnold, was their study of 25 cases of congenital absence of the fibula treated at the Hospital for Special Surgery . Thompson and his co-authors described, for the first time, the anatomical characteristics of the fibrous band found in all cases, its clinical significance, and recommended surgical treatment.
In a 1959 article published in the Bulletin of the Hospital for Special Surgery, he outlined basic principles in selecting an operative procedure or the use of bracing for the paralyzed extremity . He maintained that a lower extremity with little motor power could be made functional for walking.
One of the classic tests for the clinical diagnosis of a ruptured tendo Achilles is the Thompson Squeeze Test, published in two separate journals [13, 14]. The test is performed with the patient kneeling to relax the Achilles and calf musculature. The calf muscles are squeezed by the examiner. A normal response is plantar flexion of the foot. If there is a complete tendon rupture, the foot does not move.
The Manhattan transfer
On the morning of May 25, 1955, The Hospital for Special Surgery, then 92 years old, made its move from 321 East 42nd Street to its new 6-million dollar building at 535 East 70th Street, adjacent to New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. A formal affiliation with the medical center was finally completed.
Four operating rooms and a five-bed Recovery Room shared the fourth floor with on-call facilities for the house staff and a medical library first established by Dr. Wilson in 1935. That year, 1,500 operative procedures were performed with an average length of stay of 25 days. The upper floors of the nine-story building provided inpatient rooms on the fifth through eighth floors, with the fifth floor housing a New York City Public School. On the ninth floor, T. Gordon Young the hospital administrator and his family resided.
The new affiliation expanded graduate education at both New York Hospital and HSS. At the end of 1956, six residents from New York Hospital were assigned to HSS at all times. There were two surgical residents on the orthopedic service; two medical residents on the rheumatic disease service; one pediatric resident; and one radiology resident.
From HSS, two orthopedic residents were assigned to the fracture service at New York Hospital where Dr. Robert Lee Patterson, Jr. and Dr. Preston Wade were co-chiefs. Four orthopedic residents also rotated on the orthopedic service at the Kingsbridge Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital. Dr. John Doherty, who had just finished his HSS orthopedic residency, was chief of the service. The remaining 18 months of the residency training were devoted to general orthopedics for a total of 3 years of resident training. Soon, the program was expanded to 3.5 years, with the addition of Memorial Hospital rotations on the bone tumor service. Orthopedic fellows served on various services for different time periods and were expected to be involved in research projects, as were the orthopedic residents.
Chief nursing officers
The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled and Hospital for Special Surgery
Ella S. Murdock
Ella E. Patterson, RN
Matron and Directress of Nursing
Jean L. England
Matron and Directress of Nursing
Ethel B. Ridley, RN
Directress of Nursing
Cleanthe E. Logotheton
Directress of Nursing
Mary Jeanne Clapp, RN
Director of Nursing
D. Dean Smith, MA, RN
Director of Nursing
After 8 years as Director of Research, Dr. Wilson retired from that office on June 30, 1963 and was followed by Goran C. H. Bauer (1924–1994) from Malmo, Sweden. At Lund University, Bauer had defended his doctoral thesis on bone mineral kinematics in 1954. After serving as Director of Research and Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon at HSS until 1969, Professor Bauer then returned to Sweden where he was appointed Professor of Orthopaedics and Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics at Lund University. He held that post for 20 years until his retirement in 1989. In 1983, Goren Bauer assumed the editorship of Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica, “a commission he conducted with skill and enthusiasm until his death” in 1994 .
R&C had a limited number of specialty clinics, but one of the earliest was the Scoliosis Clinic founded in 1934 by John R. Cobb, MD (1903–1967), who was appointed that same year by Dr. Wilson as a Gibney Orthopaedic Fellow. A graduate of Yale Medical School in 1930, Cobb had a degree in English Literature from Brown University where he was a member of the swim team. Born in New York, the second of six children, his early education was at Stanton Military Institute in Virginia where he graduated in 1921 .
Lee Ramsay Straub, the youngest of three brothers and three sisters, traced his roots back to John Ramsay who sailed in 1776 from Kintire, Scotland. He became ship wrecked off the coast of Prince Edward Island and settled there to raise his family. Lee Ramsay (in later years, he preferred to be called Ramsay) was born in Perth Amboy, NJ, December 12, 1913. During his early years, he underwent a number of operations for congenital unilateral hemangiomas, one reason for his interest in pursuing medicine as a profession. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkley, and his medical degree from the Medical School of McGill University. It was in Montreal that he met his future wife, Mary, trained as a physical therapist, who came from Lethbridge, Alberta. They were married in New York in September 1941 and raised three sons, all eventually marrying a Mary (four Mary Straubs in the family).
His early physical problem of chondromalcia of his knees resulted in multiple knee surgeries . In his later years, he was very disabled by arthritis with severe involvement of both knees but had great courage and continued to operate and examine patients, using an electric chair.
Robert Lee Patterson, Jr. becomes Surgeon-in-Chief
In 1962, adverse relations between The Hospital for Special Surgery and New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center seriously threatened the continued affiliation agreement between the two hospitals. Because of difficulties over a faculty and staff appointment, Dr. Thompson resigned from the office of Surgeon-in-Chief. He was replaced in 1963 by Robert Lee Patterson, Jr., MD (1907–1994), who had first joined the staff of The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled in 1936 as a Visiting Surgeon.
T. Campbell Thompson was considered to be one of the best clinicians and surgeons in the hospital by his colleagues and an excellent teacher by his students. In conferences, he would often nod off to short periods of light sleep, but should a question be addressed to him, he immediately awakened and responded with a pertinent and knowledgeable answer. Dr. Thompson continued to practice orthopedics and devoted most of his time to teaching after his retirement as Surgeon-in-Chief. He died in 1986.
Robert Lee Patterson, born in Athens, GA, was the youngest of five children. He graduated in 1928 from the University of Georgia where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. His early intention was to become a minister. Having decided to pursue medicine, he was accepted at Harvard Medical School, receiving his medical degree in 1932. He then interned at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and stayed in Boston to train as an orthopedic resident at Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1935, he had 6 months further training on the Neurosurgical Trauma Service at Boston City Hospital. Following his Boston experience, he came to New York where he was an orthopedic resident on the Fracture Service of Presbyterian Hospital. Completing his training in 1936, he was appointed by Dr. Wilson to the attending staff of the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled, where he was assigned to start a Cerebral Palsy clinic. On May 1, 1937, Dr. Patterson married Margaret Douglas Sloane, daughter of Mrs. William Sloane and the late Mr. Sloane in a ceremony at the Union Theological Society in New York. Her father was the founder of the famous Sloane Furniture store in 1843 in New York.6 During World War II, from 1942 until 1946, Patterson served with the Armed Forces in Europe, being discharged with a rank of Lieutenant Colonel [1, 23]. Col. Patterson was decorated with three battle stars and the Legion of Merit.
The year Dr. Patterson assumed the office of Surgeon-in-Chief, the hospital celebrated its 100th anniversary, having first opened its doors on May 1, 1863 . The hospital celebrated its Centennial that May with a 3-day scientific program, chaired by Dr. Philip D. Wilson, Jr. who had joined the attending staff as an Orthopedic Surgeon to the Out-Patient Department in 1951. Dr. Wilson, Jr. had trained as an orthopedic resident at HSS from 1948 to 1950 and, in 1951, finished his residency at the University of California Hospital Medical Center, San Francisco.
Under Dr Patterson’s direction, The Department of Rehabilitation was created with Dr. William Cooper, then Chief of the Cerebral Palsy Clinic, becoming the first full-time Director. Dr. Wilson, Jr., was appointed Chief of the Hip Service. Using knowledge gained from his experiences abroad and the laboratory findings of Dr. Harlan Amstutz, a protocol was established for total hip replacement using polymethyl-methacrylate fixation of the components. Insertion of the McKee Ferrar metal on metal implant began in 1967 .
Undergraduate Education at HSS was under the direction of Allan E. Inglis, MD who enjoyed a wealth of knowledge in orthopedics and anatomy. He organized classes in both fields for Cornell Medical students. Dr. Patterson appointed him Executive Assistant to the Surgeon-in-Chief and, eventually, Chief of the CAP Service.
In 1964, as a senior resident, at a scoliosis instructional course meeting held at the University of Minnesota, he proposed establishing a Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) and drafted the first bylaws of the society. He had the longest tenure (12 years) of any member of the Board of Directors of the society and served as Secretary-Treasurer (1970–72), Secretary (1972–74), and President (1978–79). Besides winning the first prize Walter P. Blount Award with Laura B. Flawn, MD (1953–2001) in 1983, Dr. Levine was awarded the 2009 SRS Lifetime Achievement Award at the 44th annual meeting of the Scoliosis Research Society in San Antonio, TX, September 26, 2009.
In addition to these duties and achievements, Dr. Patterson assigned Dr Levine to the Directorship of the Newborn Hip Examining Service (1966–76), a new program. With Wan Ngo Lim, MD (1920–2004), Chief of Pediatrics at HSS, Dr. Philip D. Wilson, Jr., and a team of fellows and orthopedic residents, Levine routinely examined biweekly over 50,000 newborns at New York Hospital for dislocation of the hip (CDH), preventing the dreaded complications of an undiagnosed CDH .
Dr. Levine retired from active practice in 1995. In 2003, Dr. Thomas P. Sculco became the 11th Surgeon-in-Chief and asked Dr. Levine, in spite of his retirement, to accept a new position as Director of HSS Alumni Affairs. He established the HSS Archives, continued his previous interests in publishing medical history of the hospital, and resumed the management of the Caspary Lodge, a responsibility he had held from 1967 to 1994.
In 1965, Mary Jeanne Clapp, RN, retired as Director of Nursing and was followed by D. Dean Smith, MA, RN who held that position until 1975. Another important nursing milestone was the retirement of Hazel Evans, RN who was Operating Room (OR) Supervisor for 25 years from 1941 to 1966. She was followed by Elizabeth Kirsch, RN who held the post until 1970, after which Ingrid Andersson from Malmo, Sweden, became OR Supervisor.
After battling peripheral vascular disease, Philip D. Wilson died May 7, 1969 at the age of 83 in New York Hospital. A memorial service was held at the New York Academy of Medicine on May 10th. In his obituary published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, his very close friend, Sir Harry Platt, wrote in part:
“In Great Britain we have long seen Philip Wilson not only as an outstanding surgical leader in the United States, the doyen of orthopedic surgery, but as a world figure. For us he represented the outward symbol of that special relationship between the orthopedic surgeons of our two countries created in the days of war by Sir Robert Jones and nurtured by Robert Osgood” .
In 1969 with the resignation of Dr. Goran Bauer, Director of Research, who also had been Chief of the Knee Clinic, John Insall, MD (1930–2000) became the new Chief. Insall along with Chitranjan Ranawat, MD, Peter Walker, PhD, and Dr. Inglis began investigations ultimately leading to the design and development of the total condylar knee prosthesis at HSS. In December 1971, Drs Insall, Ranawat, and Joseph I. Hoffman, Jr., MD (Orthopedic Fellow) performed the first implantation of a duo-condylar knee prosthesis, designed in the laboratory by Dr. Walker and Joseph V. Hajek, MD (Orthopedic Fellow) .
In 1970, with the resignation of Dr. Richard Freyberg as Director of Rheumatic Diseases, Charles L. Christian, MD was appointed to that position, becoming Physician-in-Chief and Associate Director of Research. Dr. Christian brought with him from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Doctors Lawrence Kagen, Robert W. Lightfoot, Jr., Michael D. Lochshin, and Paul E. Phillips. Among their many investigative studies, Dr. Christian and his colleagues were particularly interested in autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.
John L. Marshall, DVM, MD (1936–1980) established the first Sports Medicine Clinic at HSS in 1971 . Marshall died in a light airplane crash on February 19, 1980. He was on his way from an annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Atlanta, GA to the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.
On July 2, 1972, Philip D. Wilson, Jr. became the eighth Surgeon-in-Chief of The Hospital for Special Surgery.
Tudor City, an apartment complex on the East Side of Manhattan, is bordered by 40th Street to the South, First Avenue to the East, Second Avenue to the West, and 43rd Street to the North. Many of the R&C staff lived and/or had offices in Tudor City where the hospital was located.
In 1935, Bennett served as the first annual Surgeon-in-Chief Pro Tempora at The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled. He had been a house surgeon at R&C in 1909.
R&C was the first hospital to have a therapeutic pool in New York City in 1928.
Two of Cobb’s famous limericks were:
In the field of scoliosis, there is one thing to observe—keep your eye on the patient and not on the curve.
You don’t have to be crazy to do scoliosis, but it helps.
Dr. Wade was brought out of retirement in 1970 to assume the post of interim Chief of Surgery at New York Hospital.
The name was changed to W and J Sloane when his brother John Sloane joined the store in 1852. For years, it was located on Fifth Avenue at 38th Street and decorated the homes of the wealthy and famous, created Hollywood movie sets, and even designed furniture for the interior of the White House.