October 23, 2018
2 min read

Richard H. Rothman, MD, PhD, founder of the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, dies at 81

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Richard H. Rothman, MD, PhD, founder of the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Philadelphia, died at the age of 81 on Oct. 21, 2018, after a battle with cancer, according to an obituary from Rothman Orthopaedic Institute.

Richard Rothman headshot
Richard H. Rothman

Todd J. Albert
Thomas P. Sculco

“The world of orthopedics has lost a giant with the passing of Dick Rothman,” Todd J. Albert, MD, surgeon-in-chief and medical director at Hospital for Special Surgery, told Healio.com/Orthopedics. “He was an incredible mentor and best friend to many of us, as well as an inspiration to all who knew him and those who never had the privilege.”

A native of Cheltenham Township in Pennsylvania, Rothman obtained a B.A. in history along with his degree in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in anatomy at Thomas Jefferson University. Rothman performed more than 50,000 total hip and knee replacements during his career, according to the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, and was the developer of the Stryker Accolade total hip replacement system.

“All the key qualities of a leader were easily recognized: [Rothman] had courage to do what others thought was not possible; he could find ways around obstacles, staying focused on his long-term goals; he worked hand-in-hand with those he led; and his character and charisma made others want to follow him no matter what the odds of success were,” Anthony A. Romeo, MD, Chief Medical Editor of Orthopedics Today, told Healio.com/Orthopedics.

Anthony A. Romeo

He added Rothman’s kindness and respect for all people was palpable and said Rothman had the gift of “bringing people together and aligning their goals, creating a positive impact in so many lives.”

“[Rothman] believed and lived by the saying that relationships equal results,” Romeo said. “I know I am not alone when I think about how much more I could learn if I had more time with him.”

Beyond orthopedics, Rothman served as vice chair of the board of trustees at Thomas Jefferson University, was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and the Brandywine River Museum of Art. He was also a senior advisor on the board of trustees for the Riverside Corporation and taught medical students at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai.

“Dick Rothman was a brilliant surgeon, innovator in hip surgery and creator of one of the great orthopedic institutions in the world,” Thomas P. Sculco, MD, surgeon-and-chief emeritus at Hospital for Special Surgery, told Healio.com/Orthopedics. “His talents were incredible and his enthusiastic spirit in everything he did made him a natural leader and ensures his extraordinary legacy.”

Rothman is survived by his wife Marsha, four children and five grandchildren.