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Hospital for Special Surgery: Origin and Early History: Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled: First Site: 1863-1870

HSS Journal

Hospital Special Surgery (HSS) originated as the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled (R&C) 142 years ago in New York City. As the first and only orthopaedic hospital of its kind in this country, it was located in the residence of its founder James Knight on Second Avenue south of Sixth Street and started with 28 in-patient beds for children but no operating facilities. The history of this institution has been documented in two books and occasionally published and unpublished papers. Many of these accounts have been limited by period of time, focus on a particular subject or overall reviews. The emergence of such a specialized facility in the middle of the 19th century during a time of medicine in its infancy, our country at war and the city of New York racked in poverty, disease, civil riots and political corruption is a story not necessarily appreciated in our day. The vision of one little known physician and the cooperation and support of a small group of prominent New Yorkers and philanthropists were responsible for the origin of this hospital and particularly for its survival in such troubled times when most small hospitals of this period lasted only for a few years. Fortunately, almost all of the original Annual Reports of the Board of Managers, photographs, manuscripts, personal records and newspaper clippings have been saved. They are now being collected, preserved, catalogued and displayed in the newly formed HSS Archives from which this material has been taken.

This article appears in HSS Journal: Volume 1, Number 1.
This article originally appeared on springerlink.de.

About the HSS Journal
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.


David B. Levine, MD
Hospital for Special Surgery


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