Journal Logo

STEPHEN A. CHRISTIDES, M.D. 1909–1998

C., H. R.

Obituary
Free

Stephan A. Christides, M.D., died on May 3, 1998. The cause of his death was medullary thyroid cancer, which had been diagnosed in 1994.

Stephan Christides was born in Ioannina, Greece, on December 26, 1909. He received his elementary and high-school education in Ioannina and then attended the National University of Athens, graduating in 1930. From 1930 to 1936, he served as a resident at the Red Cross Hospital in Athens. In 1936, he was appointed Chief of the Division of Surgery at the Hatzikosta Hospital in Ioannina, where he served until the onset of World War II. He served in both the Greek Army and the British Army between 1940 and 1946, with a period of service in the National Bands of the Guerrilla Service from 1943 to 1945. While he was with the National Bands, he found it necessary to perform many amputations, not only because of the injuries that were sustained but also because of the conditions under which treatment was rendered. It was during this time that he decided to go to the United States and to become an orthopaedic surgeon in order to learn how to save and preserve limbs rather than amputate them.

After a brief period at Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania, Dr. Christides served an internship at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia from 1947 to 1949 and a residency in orthopaedic surgery at Philadelphia General Hospital and Children's Hospital in Philadelphia from 1949 to 1952. Upon completion of his training, he joined the orthopaedic staffs of Pennsylvania Hospital and Children's Hospital; he continued to serve at both institutions until he retired in 1986. He was also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine from 1973 to 1986.

Dr. Christides became Board Certified in 1954 and joined the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1957. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, the American College of Surgeons, the Hellenic Association of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, the Eastern Orthopaedic Association, and numerous state and local societies. He served as Secretary of the Industrial Medical Association of Philadelphia from 1964 to 1965, as Secretary-Treasurer of the Philadelphia Orthopaedic Society from 1964 to 1969 and then as President of that organization from 1969 to 1970, and as President of the Hellenic Orthopaedic Society from 1973 to 1974.

Dr. Christides was one of the original thirteen founding members of the Eastern Orthopaedic Association and served as its Treasurer from 1970 to 1976. He continued to be active and supportive of the Association, allowing his office to serve as its quarters for more than twenty years until it acquired its own space.

Dr. Christides maintained a keen personal interest in his patients and his fellow physicians and served as mentor and friend to many orthopaedic surgeons. He loved to communicate with his friends by postcard; receiving a postcard from him was always a special occasion, and many of the recipients still have a large collection. He was a life-long learner and teacher, always taking time to instruct his students in the English language.

After his retirement, he continued to participate actively in medicine by attending rounds at Pennsylvania Hospital. He never stopped learning and often spent hours reading Lincoln, Churchill, and Shakespeare, always with a dictionary at his side. He served as a mentor to his granddaughter, Maria, who graduated from Villanova University the week after his death and plans to attend medical school.

He loved Philadelphia and was a strong supporter of the city. While in practice, he enjoyed walking from his home to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, across it, and back, once a week. (After retiring, he did this twice a week.) Often, he would stop at the Liberty Bell in Washington Square, where he would ask visitors where they were from, take souvenir photographs with them, and welcome them to the City of Brotherly Love.

Dr. Christides had an acute sense of friendship, uncommon insight, and complete fairness. His very personal support will be deeply missed. His optimistic attitude is reflected in one of his favorite expressions, used in times of crisis: “The sun will rise tomorrow.” The sun will rise tomorrow; it will not set on his friends' memory of him.

Dr. Christides' wife, Barbara, died in August 1994. He is survived by two sons, Lee and Paul; two grandchildren, Maria and Stephen; and a sister, Sophia.

H. R. C.

Copyright © 1998 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated