r Berton R. Moed, MD, the Hansbörg Wyss
Endowed Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery
and Professor & Chairman, Department of
Orthopaedic Surgery, Saint Louis University
School of Medicine, Missouri, US was guest
lecturer at the Millin Symposium and was
awarded an Honorary Fellowship of RCSI. He spoke to Surgical
Scope about his illustrious career.
AT THE BEGINNNING OF YOUR
CAREER, AS A LIEUTENANT IN THE US NAVY, YOU MOVED
FROM GENERAL SURGERY TO ORTHOPAEDICS. WHAT
MOTIVATED YOU TO MAKE THAT DEFINING CHANGE?
Before I went into the US Navy, my career aspiration
was to be an academic pediatric cardiovascular surgeon. I was
training at Saint Louis University, which at that time had very strong
cardiovascular and pediatric programmes, and I believe that my
interest was generated by the strong mentorship I received there.
Later, I became more exposed to orthopaedic surgery, and more
specifically orthopaedic trauma surgery.
The joy and satisfaction that I experienced in orthopaedics convinced
me that I should change my career path. My own experience has
led me to advocate for a longer, more vigorous and wider breadth
of clinical experience for medical trainees than what is currently in
vogue, prior to making career decisions.
YOUR SERVICE IN THE US NAVY WAS DISTINGUISHED
BY LETTERS OF COMMENDATION FOR PATIENT CARE
AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT. WHAT ARE YOUR
OUTSTANDING MEMORIES OF THAT TIME IN YOUR LIFE?
Well, many of them are probably not the most appropriate for
publication! But all kidding aside, the things I remember most are
the camaraderie I experienced, and quickly becoming aware that,
without all that much training or back-up, I was responsible for
the well-being of a lot of people in an isolated environment. One
episode stands out in my mind that occurred not too long after I was
assigned to a ship.
We were at sea in the Western Pacific and a Marine Sergeant got cut
across his neck in an altercation. He was bleeding quite profusely.
We got him to the medical area and he was pretty agitated, to say the
least. While I was getting him prepped, I asked a corpsman to get
me Grant's Atlas. When the corpsman showed up with the book and
the sergeant saw it he screamed, "Oh my God he's getting out the
book!" I responded, "I'm all you got and I need all the help I can get."
After that he passed out and everything went fine.
TODAY YOU ARE PROFESSOR AND CHAIRMAN OF
THE DEPARTMENT OF ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY AT YOUR
ALMA MATER, THE SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF
MEDICINE. COULD YOU OUTLINE THE MAIN FOCUS OF
To a great extent, the clinical departments at Saint Louis University
are each led by a department chairman, who reports to the Dean.
In this situation, I am obligated to be somewhat of a micromanager.
However, my main focus has been our orthopaedic residency training
programme. Unfortunately, when I returned to Saint Louis in March
of 2003, the academic programme was in disarray. As an American
College of Surgeons Level 1 trauma centre, we were short-staffed,
faculty-wise. With only 18 residents, at three per year in our five-year
programme, we did not have enough trainees to meet the resident
work-hours restrictions, which were to begin in July. Furthermore,
the resident research output was very low, as was our American Board
of Orthopaedic Surgery certification examination pass rate. Over the
course of the past 10 years, our faculty complement has expanded
from five to 22, all having subspecialty training; the residency has
expanded to five per year in a six-year programme with a dedicated
and mandatory research year; and we now have a research division
consisting of three PhDs. Our residents are actively producing
successful research and have an excellent educational experience
within the confines of the mandated work-hours restrictions. In
addition, I am proud to say that our Board pass rate has been 100 per
cent for more than five years running.
COULD YOU TELL OUR READERS A LITTLE ABOUT THE
SCHOOL OF MEDICINE IN ST LOUIS AND THE PARTICULAR
AFFINITY YOU HAVE WITH IT?
Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution with
campuses in St Louis, Missouri and Madrid, Spain. Founded in 1818,
it was the first University west of the Mississippi River. Saint Louis
University School of Medicine was founded in 1836, and awarded the
first medical degree west of the Mississippi River in 1839. The School
of Medicine separated from Saint Louis University in 1854. The
University was without a medical school until 1903 when the William
Beaumont and Marion Sims School of Medicine joined the University
to become the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Historically, the University has been committed to diversity and
inclusion and its commitment to community service has earned it
national acclaim. I graduated from Saint Louis University School of
Medicine in 1976. I went to medical school there not because I am
Catholic, but because I am not. I am Jewish and unfortunately, there
was a time in the US when that fact alone limited one's opportunities,
WORLD AUTHORITY ON PELVIC TRAUMA AND RCSI HONORARY
FELLOW DISCUSSES SURGICAL EDUCATION, THE FUTURE OF
ORTHOPAEDIC TRAUMA CARE AND EARLY DAYS IN THE US NAVY