December 2016

In Memoriam

Pier Giorgio Marchetti, MD

Pier Giorgio Marchetti, MD died October 15, 2016 at his home in Bologna, Italy, after a prolonged illness. He was 85 years old.

Professor Marchetti, a former Director at the historical Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute and of the Orthopaedic Department of the University of Bologna, became a fellow of the Scoliosis Research Society in 1975. Widely known in Italy and Europe for his expertise in scoliosis and other spinal conditions, he trained in his earlier years under the famous orthopaedist, Oscar Scaglietti (1906-1993) at the Orthopaedic Institute Toscana in Florence. Prof. Scaglietti, originally at the orthopaedic clinic in Bologna, moved to Florence in 1956 to become Professor of Orthopaedics.

A native of Pisa, Prof. Marchetti was born in 1931 in Gaiole in Chianti in the Province of Siena, just twenty-five miles south of Florence. He studied at the prestigious Florentine School, The Oaks and went on to obtain his degree in medicine in 1956. In 1960, he was appointed to a one-year fellowship in scoliosis under Dr. John Cobb (1903-1967) and Dr. Philip D. Wilson, Jr. (1920-2016) at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. In 2010, the Pier Giogio Marchetti, MD, Award for International Achievement was established to recognize an outstanding lifetime achievement in orthopaedic surgery by an international fellow who trained at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). The first award was presented that year by Dr. Thomas P. Sculco, HSS Surgeon-in-Chief (2003-2013) to Professor Marchetti on his 50th anniversary as a fellow at HSS.

In 1968, he left Florence to become Director of Orthopaedics at Pisa where he stayed until 1982 when he was appointed Director of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute. Just the year before, "Rizzoli" was named as a scientific research hospital by the Italian Health Ministry due to its high level of orthopaedics and traumatology. Opened in 1896, "Rizzoli" was originally founded at the end of the 19th century by the famous Bolognese surgeon Francesco Rizzoli who had bought a convent on the hill of San Michele in Bosco. Early directors of the Rizzoli Institute were Alessandro Codvilla (1861-1912), the "father of Italian orthopaedics" and Vittorio Putti (1880-1940), legendary orthopaedic surgeon who treated congenital dislocation of the hip, bone tumors, spine diseases and trauma in the early 20th century. Professor Putti's personal library and office in the Institute's Umberto Library is archived exactly as he left it when he died in 1940, after serving as the Rizzoli Director for twenty-eight years.

During Professor Marchetti's years as leader of the "Rizzoli", he founded the Biomechanics Laboratory, directed orthopaedic research studies, revolutionized orthopaedic surgical procedures and served as a mentor to many young surgeons in training. He retired from academic orthopaedics in 2006.

Professor Marchetti leaves his wife Lucilla and three children, Nicola, Federica and Guido. I will always remember how gracious his wife Lucilla and he were to me when I visited him at his home and the Institute in 2012.

Obituary was written by David B. Levine, MD with help from Dr. Sara Nanni

Professor Marchetti at his desk in Bologna. c. 2015