March 2020


John D. Hsu, MD
 - December 16, 2019

John Hsu, MD, of Downey, CA died on December 16, 2019 after a long illness. He was 82 years of age and a senior member of the SRS. He was born in China, but raised in Canada. He received his undergraduate and medical education at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. This was followed by an internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal and then his orthopaedic residency and fellowship at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Following training, he accepted a position at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey, CA in association with Jacqueline Perry, MD, one of the 1966 founding members of the SRS. His career interests were children and young adults with neuromuscular disorders, especially spinal deformities. He was an active member of the AAOS, SRS, POSNA and other organizations. He ultimately became Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Southern California. During his career, he published 45 peer-reviewed studies.

He was married for 57 years to his wife Francine. They had two daughters, one son and two grandchildren. I had the privilege of knowing him most of my professional career. He was a scholar, a gentlemen and a good friend.

Written by George H. Thompson, MD.

Clyde Lester (Les) Nash Jr., MD
November 25, 1932 - September 13, 2019

The SRS lost a major member on September 13, 2019. Les Nash was 86 years old and had a very illustrious spinal deformity career. He was both a Past-President and Lifetime Achievement Award winner (2010) of our society. Perhaps most importantly he was the first to develop clinically applicable somatosensory neuromonitoring in the mid 1970’s. This dramatically improved the safety in spine deformity surgery in both the pediatric and adult patients and laid the groundwork for the further advancements we have available today. He was academically dedicated and never profited from his developments. He attended Amherst College and the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine His orthopaedic residency was at the same institution under the direction of Charles H. Herndon, MD, one of the SRS Founders. He did a scoliosis fellowship with John Moe, MD in Minneapolis, MN before returning to the faculty at University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC). He spent his entire career at the CWRU affiliated institutions of UHC, St. Lukes Hospital and MetroHealth Medical Center before retiring from the latter. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Deborah, three children, 8 grandchildren and one great grandchild. He was my personal friend and mentor. He will be missed by all who knew him. A more extensive obituary will be published in Spine Deformity early next year.

Albert E. Sanders, MD
November 25, 1932 - September 2, 2019

Albert E. Sanders was born on November 25, 1932 in Fort Worth, Texas and passed away on September 2, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas.

The SRS would like to acknowledge the great achievement of Dr. Sanders as well as to send its deepest condolences to his family. There is now a void that cannot be filled.

Following his graduation from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, Dr. Sanders embarked on a distinguished journey of medical education. He attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where he received his medical degree in 1959. From 1960-1962 he fulfilled his military obligation in US Public Health Service providing medical care to with the Jicarilla Apache tribe in New Mexico. It was during this time that he developed a very strong interest in orthopedic surgery.

He achieved his dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon with the completion of a residency in orthopedic surgery at the Baylor School of Medicine orthopedic residency program. It was here that he had the opportunity to be exposed to the surgical management of scoliosis.

He was fortunate to be able to work closely with Dr. Paul Harrington who was the designer of the Harrington Rod, the gold standard for scoliosis treatment and remained such until the mid 1980’s.

Al brought this expertise of the surgical treatment of scoliosis to San Antonio when he established his orthopedic practice. He quickly established himself as the most qualified orthopedic surgeon to surgically treat scoliosis in South Texas. During his career Al always kept up to date by learning and initiating the newest surgical procedures. He also shared his experience with other new surgeons in South Texas. He was considered one of the pioneers of scoliosis surgery.

In addition to his private practice obligations and orthopedic faculty participation, Dr. Sanders found time to treat the children of families with limited financial resources along the Southern border with Mexico with the establishment of pediatric orthopedic clinics at the Ruth B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center in Laredo and the Easter Seal Center in Edinberg.

As well as being a skilled scoliosis surgeon, he played a leadership role in the local and state orthopedic communities. He has served as President of both The Texas Orthopedic Association and The Bexar County Medical Society. This was addition to his participation on the Board of the Santa Rosa Hospital and Board of Councilors for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

His humanitarian efforts were recognized by receiving The Walter Blount Humanitarian Award from the Scoliosis Research Society, and along with his wife Shirley, the Arthritis Foundation Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Because some children on the Mexican side of the border children could not afford to pay for needed care in the U.S., Dr. Sanders established a special fund to pay for their treatment at the Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital.

Among his other humanitarian activities, he and Shirley established The Shirley and Albert Sanders Scholarship at the University of Texas School of Medicine in Galveston which is awarded each year to outstanding students, alternating between the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

He loved spending time on his farm, hunting, fishing and being at their house on the Guadalupe River. He was a great family man. He celebrated over 63 years of marriage with his bride, Shirley Oliver Sanders. His three children Dr. James O. Sanders (Tricia), Mary Kay Gribbons, Rev. Stephen A. Sanders (Mary); have carried on his philosophy of always caring for others.

Dr. Sanders had a long professional relationship with Dr. Vo Van Thanh from Vietnam. They conferred and discussed complicated cases with each other. Upon learning about Al’s passing Dr. Thanh said the following: “I learned from him not only in a professional pioneering way, it was more than that. I also learned from his good character, his good behavior, his humanity, his compassion and good will to care for others...”

Dr. Sanders touched many lives and contributed much to the people of South Texas, and far beyond U.S. boundaries with his roles as a superior surgeon, mentor, leader, humanitarian and a dedicated family man. He will be truly missed.

Written by Behrooz A. Akbarnia, MD and Kaye E. Wilkins, MD.