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The Hospital for Special Surgery Affiliates with Cornell University Medical College and New York Hospital, 1951; Philip D. Wilson Retires as Surgeon-in-Chief, 1955


When World War II ended in 1945, the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the oldest orthopedic hospital in the country, was entering its eighth decade. Only 5 years previously, its name was changed from the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled (R & C). In 1934, Dr. Philip D. Wilson (1886–1969) had been recruited to fill the office of the fifth Surgeon-in-Chief with a key charge to restore the hospital as the leading orthopedic institution in our country, a role it originally held for over half a century since its founding in 1863. Wilson believed that a close affiliation with a university center having a medical school and hospital, while maintaining independence, was vital to achieve this objective. In 1948, negotiations between representatives of the Board of the New York Society for the Relief of the Ruptured and Crippled and representatives of the Society of the New York Hospital and Cornell Medical Center began and a preliminary written agreement was reached in March, the next year. The affiliation called for construction of a new building to house approximately 170 inpatient beds for orthopedics and arthritis. The land on the East River between 70th and 71st Streets, owned by New York Hospital, was to be given, without monetary exchange, to the Hospital for Special Surgery for construction of its new hospital. Finally, on November 1, 1951, a new non-proximate agreement was ratified. On May 25, 1955, after 43 years at 321 East 42nd Street, the Hospital for Special Surgery moved to its new six million dollar building at 535 East 70th Street where it formally became affiliated with New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center. Two months later, on July 1, 1955, Philip D. Wilson retired as Surgeon-in-Chief to become the Hospital for Special Surgery’s new Director of Research and Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus.

This article appears in HSS Journal: Volume 5, Number 2.
View the full article at springerlink.com.

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
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Division of Education, Hospital for Special Surgery


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