Rotary eClub One, District 5450
World's 1st eClub (Jan 2002)

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What does it mean to be a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon?


Dear Fellow Rotarians,

What does it mean to be a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon?

It is difficult to begin my explanation because the two words are pretty much redundant in their root languages, but have different uses in French and in English!

In 1741, Nicolas Andry de Boisregard, a French doctor at the medical college of Paris, coined the word “Orthopaedic” and defined the Art of correcting and preventing deformities in CHILDREN. Greek orthos meaning "straight, correct" and paideia meaning "rearing of children." Investing in the field of osteology, Andry proposed hygienic rules to prevent and correct bodily deformities.

Years later the word “orthopaedics” or orthopedics would be used in the United States to mean the use of surgery to correct many problems related to bone and joints. Surgeons treating pathologies specific to children then became known as pediatric orthopedic surgeons.  The orthopedists were already treating adults but because the root word "orthopedic" suggests the treatment of children, the term "pediatric orthopedist" became a bit of a redundancy.

Approximately 2% of children have orthopedic pathology that requires treatment. While many believe that most problems are gone, and mostly from people in rich countries, this is not the case for the rest of the world. With the help of the Rotary and its wish to cure polio all over the world, millions of children have benefited from a vaccine live without deformities.

However, thousands of children are still suffering from clubfeet, scoliosis, cerebral palsy, and many other deformities from various origins. The pediatric orthopedist's task is infinite and has many challenges.

The Rotary has been in my life for a long time. As a young pediatric orthopedic surgeon, I was invited in 1987 to be part of the creation of a new Rotary Club in my hometown in Belgium. At this time the DGA was called «représentant spécial du DG» and his mission was to bring together young professionals once a week. The meeting time was in the evening because the first Club in Namur, D2170, had a lunch meeting only. It was difficult for many young professionals to take a break during the day.

I have more than 35 years of Rotary life. I have been PP in ‘93-94, and I have held almost every positions in Rotary Club, Namur Confluent D2160. I have also a lot more than 100 making ups ... from many countries all around the world.

Now, I am retired and I have the opportunity to travel even more (a wish with the pandemic). R eC1 and you all gave me the great honor to be part of your club, and I am ready to help. While I still must learn the mechanics of R eC1 and understand all the e-procedures, I can’t wait to be part of this great group of people.

IPP Peter 
already gave me much precious advice, and I will take one of them and keep it short. While I am honored to be part of a club that meets remotely, I also like to meet people in the real world. For this reason, I’ll attend the International Convention in Houston, Tx, in June 2022, and I hope to see many of you there to finally meet in person.

Thank you all, my fellow Rotarians

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