The opinions which have been presented are dictated by the experiences of both the past and of the present . They are concerned with but some of the many problems with which Orthopaedic Surgery is presently confronted. Out of these experiences comes the full realization that the solution of our problems will demand the full participation of all Orthopaedic Surgeons. The constant growth of the membership of this Academy indicates the important position of our specialty. The rapidly expanding attendance at our Scientific Assemblies gives evidence of our interest toward the improvement of scientific aspects of Orthopaedic Surgery.
By contrast, the meager attendance at our Executive Sessions and our general disinterest in the deliberations of our committees gives evidence that we, as a whole, are either unaware of or unconcerned with the future of our specialty. Our unfavorable position in the field of inter-medical relations and in matters concerninig the socio-medical and medical economic aspects of our specialty indicates that we are too willing to accept the work of a few of our members and unwilling to work for the maintenance of the present healthy position of our specialty. Should we not stop to think of the future position of Orthopaedic Surgery? Now, as never before, we are confronted by the depredations being made upon our specialty by other fields of medicine. Additionally, we are faced with the subdivisions and the subtractions suggested by special groups within our own specialty.
Upon our part, it requires but little of our imagination to picture the future of an Orthopaedic specialty deprived of the care of crippled children, of poliomyelitis, of cerebral palsy, of arthritis, of amputations, of other muscular disorders, of trauma, and of the management of the rehabilitation of our crippled and disabled patients.
Do we not have for our guidance the experience of another field of surgery broader and larger than our own?
Have we forgotten the importance of our National motto E Pluribus Unum? Do we not know that divided we may fail to maintain our specialty?
In considering our future and the remedy for the correction of our present precarious position, experience clearly indicates that in this great Academy we have at our command the very means by which our problems may be met.
The Academy is well organized and has an excellent Central Office. This Office under able management is ready and willing to assist us at all times. In our Executive Sessions, through the newly added Article XII of our Constitution and By-Laws, we have a Resolutions Committee which will permit of a free discussion of our problems.
Additionally, we have many committees such as the Committee on Public Relations, the Committee on Fractures and Traumatic Surgery, the Liaison Committee to Medical and Ancillary Specialties, the Joint Committee on the Public Care of Crippled Children, and the Joint Committee on Education and Training in Orthopaedic Surgery. The meetings of these committees are open forums before which there should be a wide participation by our members.
Through our members, we have a wide representation, both official and unofficial, in many other medical societies.
Since our experience has also demonstrated that lack of communication between us is one of our own serious faults, it is suggested that our Bulletin be used more freely for this purpose. Now published quarterly, it could become the ideal forum for the presentation of our ideas and problems and could be published more frequently.
The rapid growth of Socialism which grips our specialty makes it imperative that this Academy now give its consideration to the formation of a Committee on Socio-Medical Affairs and Medical Economics. This should be a large central committee to consist of those from among our members who would be officially selected as representatives by every other Orthopaedic society in our Country. This committee would give us a regional and organizational representation which could not fail to keep Orthopaedic Surgery ahead of the rapid developments in our field.
It is your President's considered opinion that both as individuals and as an Academy united for the good of Orthopaedic Surgery, we must maintain an alertness toward the problems of our specialty. If, in the solution of our problems, we will use the many facilities of the Academy and will communicate freely with our fellow members, then and then only may we proudly answer the question, 'Whither Goest Thou, Orthopaedics?' with but a single word-Forward!
Copyright 1958 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated