By Carolyn Rogers
An AAOS-sponsored Veterans Day media breakfast in downtown Chicago served a dual purpose: honoring our country’s war veterans and showcasing the Academy’s award-winning Legacy of Heroes project.
The breakfast was held at the International Museum of Surgical Science, which hosted the AAOS exhibit from Oct. 29 through Nov. 21, 2003—the first time it had been open to the general public. The museum, a division of the International College of Surgeons, is home to a collection of artifacts that spans more than 4,000 years of surgical history.
The Legacy of Heroes project commemorates the contributions of orthopaedic surgeons during World War II, telling their courageous, inspiring and often heart-breaking stories. It also chronicles the great strides made in the treatment of orthopaedic trauma as a result of medical treatment advances from the war. The multimedia project is comprised of a traveling exhibit, a book, a Web site and the award-winning documentary film, Wounded in Action.
Following a bountiful breakfast, members of the media heard from three speakers: AAOS Medical Director William W. Tipton, Jr., MD; Dominick Paparella, DO, Captain, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy; and Samuel H. Fraerman, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon and WWII veteran who appears in the documentary. Dr. Fraerman landed in Sicily, Salerno and Anzio, Italy, and took part in the battles at Salerno and Monte Cassino as part of the U.S. Army’s 16th Evacuation Hospital.
“Orthopaedics was a very primitive specialty at the time,” said Dr. Fraerman, who was 15 months into his 18-month internship at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital when he was called into duty in early 1942; he had yet to receive any orthopaedic training.
“We learned to do the kind of surgery we needed to do.”
This included removing dead tissue, shrapnel and bullets, then leaving the wound open to prevent infection prior to setting a fracture. Penicillin was not available until 1944 and plasma was in short supply throughout the war.
However, the most important lesson the young doctors took away from the war had nothing to do with new surgical techniques, Dr. Fraerman said. “What I learned most was compassion. We learned to care for our fellow human beings.”
Dr. Paparella, the present-day chief of orthopaedics at Great Lakes Naval Hospital in North Chicago, Ill., explained how WWII produced the concept of the “golden hour” after a traumatic injury to save the life of a wounded patient.
“Since World War II and Korea, the goal has been to get surgeons as far forward as possible to get to the wounded within that hour,” he explained.
AAOS Medical Director William W. Tipton, Jr., (left) looks on as orthopaedic surgeon Dominick Paparella, DO, Captain, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy, tells the media how current-day military medicine benefits from advances made during WWII.
Samuel H. Fraerman, MD, reflects on his experiences as a young doctor serving in WWII.
Screening of Wounded in Action
Following a challenge by Dr. Tipton to “try to keep a dry eye” during the viewing, guests had the opportunity to see the documentary, Wounded in Action, for themselves. Each of the attendees took home a DVD of the film, as well.
For the filming of the documentary, six Academy fellows who are veterans of WWII were taken back to the beaches at Normandy and Pearl Harbor. There, they reflected on tragic memories, heroic moments and the impact these experiences had on their lives.
More than 100 Academy fellows—also WWII veterans now in their 70s and 80s—were interviewed to record and preserve their individual stories, many of which are included in the book Legacy of Heroes, and all of which are featured on the Web site, www.legacyofheroes.aaos.org.
To schedule the exhibit in your community or for more information on the Legacy of Heroes exhibit, contact Sandy Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a gala ceremony in Los Angeles on Nov. 7, the AAOS was honored for its moving documentary film, Wounded in Action, which recognizes the medical contributions of orthopaedic surgeons during World War II.
The winning award in the International Health & Medical Media Awards’ ‘Communications’ category was bestowed on the Academy in recognition of the film, which is the centerpiece of the Academy’s multimedia Legacy of Heroes project.
Academy CEO Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE; Sandra R. Gordon, director of public education and media relations; and producer-director David Berez of Post Office Editorial, Inc., were in attendance to accept the prestigious award, called the “Freddie.” Chester Barta, MD; Barry Friedman, MD; and Eugene Loopesko, MD—three WWII veteran orthopaedic surgeons who appear in the film—were present for the celebration, as well.
“To receive this award is a real honor, especially considering the many other fine organizations, corporations and communications professionals in the competition,” Hackett said. “This award recognizes the contributions of these veterans whose experiences helped shape the course of trauma care in the field today and saved so many lives.”
The International Health and Medical Media Awards are sponsored by MediMedia, one of the world’s leading providers of healthcare communication, educational materials and services. In its 29th year, the goal of the competition has always been to encourage and celebrate excellence. Each year it attracts documentaries, series, shorts, videos, Web sites and CD-ROMs from around the world.
Additional honors, awards
The “Freddie” is one of many awards the Academy has received in recognition of its Legacy of Heroes project. Here is the list to date:
2003 Association Programming Achievement Award – Association Forum, Presented to an association/ nonprofit executive to honor excellence and outstanding achievement for a particular project, idea, publication, proactive or membership service