Tuesday, February 16, 2010

He practically invented orthopedics here

After Dr. Robert Lockwood completed a total hip replacement on my mother (some 25 years ago), she observed, "It's my best part." Mom has also been known to say (to this day) what a gentleman is Dr. Lockwood and how much confidence she had in him.

A few days ago I was reminded of Dr. Lockwood's work and accomplishments when I saw him, as trim and fit as ever, standing in Community General Hospital's new Center for Orthopedics. He was visiting a patient there.

It was Dr. Lockwood who performed the first joint replacement surgery at Community General, decades ago. He performed the first rotator cuff surgery, and he was the first to use a halo device (surgeons at Upstate Medical Center would borrow the frame).

Dr. Lockwood was Community's chair of orthopedics from 1975-1982. He recruited to the hospital younger doctors who went on to play significant roles: Dr. Joe Smith succeeded Dr. Lockwood as chairman of the department, and Dr. Perry Cooke went on to lead Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists.

After he retired from private practice in 1988, Dr. Lockwood continued working as the Director of the Orthopedic Clinic at University Hospital in Syracuse. He had been a faculty member at Upstate Medical Center (now, Upstate Medical University) since 1953. That was the year he graduated from orthopedic residency at Northwestern University in Chicago and began his practice in Syracuse. At Upstate he was promoted to a full professor in 1988, and he didn't retire from there until -- last October!

A curious, energetic, and active man, Dr. Lockwood was legendary for climbing the Himalayan mountains (four times!) and for scuba diving in the Dead Sea. He traveled to Jordan on a medical mission and worked in a small hospital in Jerusalem. In China he once taught for a month at a medical school in Kunming (there was no heat, electricity, or running water at the time).

Dr. Lockwood skied, he swam, he hiked, he rowed, and he played tennis. He still cross country skis . . . and hikes . . . and rows.

As he concluded his practice at Community, I asked a photographer to accompany Dr. Lockwood on his last OR case. Afterwards I sent him several prints (see one, at right). "You have earned the respect of your colleagues and coworkers," I wrote him, "and the gratitude of your many patients -- including my own mother."


orthopaedic surgeons said...

salute to a great man !

Marshall Thompson said...

It's great to hear a story of a life well lived. One question, is it orthopedics or orthopaedics? I'm in Utah and my local orthopedic group calls it orthopaedics. Anything official on this?

Tom Quinn said...

Marshall -

Either spelling is acceptable. My personal view, "orthopedics" appears more contemporary.


Werwolf said...

I too wish His hands still performed surgery as My 25 year knee surgery just now has failed due to fall,
Other than that it has been a great experience,He is the best,