Maurice Müller and Martin Allgöwer have died, but not without glory. These men changed the face of orthopedic surgery like no others.
Martin Allgöwer died on October 27, 2007, at age 90; Maurice Müller on May 10, 2009, at 91.
A Belgian surgeon, Robert Danis, published a book on fracture healing Théorie et Pratique de Lostéosynthèse. He emphasized the rehabilitation benefits of early rigid fracture fixation. Müller was impressed by Danis work and met him in 1950. Müller, along with Swiss surgeons Allgöwer, Robert Schneider and Hans Willeneggar, formed, in 1958, the AO or Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen, out of which followed the rigid fracture fixation system, precisely engineered products, and documentation that has changed orthopedic practice.
Maurice Müller was born in Biel, Switzerland in the last year of the Great War. He graduated from the University of Zurich in 1946. His concern for the poor and disabled prompted him to work in Ethiopia. His contribution to orthopedic surgical science and clinical practice has been immense. His work was universally appreciated with the reward of 14 honorary degrees. He was President of SICOT and, as an aesthete, donated a vast part of his fortune to building a modern gallery to celebrate the work of artist, Paul Klee. He baffled onlookers with his brilliance as a magician. Müller had one of the most innovative and intelligent minds that orthopedic surgery has ever included among its ranks.
Martin Allgöwer graduated from medical school in 1942. He spent time initially working in a tissue culture laboratory but decided on a surgical career and spent time furthering it in Galveston, Texas, while studying monocytes. Allgöwer continued to have an interest in science throughout his life as a surgeon. For example, he did research with clinical application on the pathophysiology of shock, polytrauma, critical care, burns, and wound healing.
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Charles Sorbie, MB, ChB, FRCS(E), FRCS(C)
Dr. Charles Sorbie is Professor of Surgery at Queens University and a member of the Attending Staff at the General and Hotel Dieu Hospitals in Kingston, Ontario.
A former chairman of the Department of Surgery at Queens University, Dr. Sorbie has been President of the Canadian Orthopaedic Research Society, the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, and the Societé Internationale de Chirurgie Orthopédique et de Traumatologie (SICOT).