March 2022

Hendrik Douwe (Henk) Been, MD

On May 20, 2021, our friend and colleague Dr. Hendrik Douwe (Henk) Been passed away. Henk Been was a well-known orthopedic and spinal surgeon from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

He obtained his medical degree in 1974. Following his military service, he started his orthopedic training in 1976. Spending two years general surgery in Delft and four years orthopedic training at the Sint Maartenskliniek in Nijmegen. He completed his orthopedic training in 1982. After a six months fellowship at the University hospital Nijmegen ‘Sint Radboud’, he became a member of the orthopedic staff at the Amsterdam University Medical Center (the former Academic  Medical Center, AMC) in 1983.

 He started as the first academic orthopedic spinal surgeon in the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. René Marti, and was at the forefront of the emerging developments in the treatment of pediatric and adult spinal deformities, spinal trauma, and spinal oncology in Amsterdam. In 1989, he defended his PhD thesis titled ‘Congenital Scoliosis’.

We remember him as a striking personality who always provided a lot of humor and discussion at national and international meetings. He was a gifted speaker and advocate of the new surgical treatment options of vertebral fractures in reaction to the old-fashioned and in those days still frequently applied conservative treatment modalities in the country.

He was a good clinician: astute, thoughtful, and considerate. He went through fire for his patients and always tried to achieve the maximum treatment result in his characteristic and creative way of communicating. Many residents and current medical staff members were trained by him in modern spinal surgery, before he retired in 2008.

Henk could not have achieved this exceptional status without the love and camaraderie of his wife Ria. We wish her lots of strength and courage in enduring this great loss.

Lori Ann Karol, MD

Lori A. Karol, MD, professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedics at Children’s Hospital of Colorado and former Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Assistant Chief of Staff, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital died Saturday, February 27. With Dr. Karol’s passing, we have lost an incredible person, physician, surgeon and leader whose impact will forever be felt. 

Dr. Karol is a native of Detroit, Michigan, completed the integrated premedical/medical program at the University of Michigan- a 6 year program combining undergraduate and medical school studies. She remained a diehard enthusiastic Michigan fan, always ready to showcase the Maize and Blue wherever and whenever possible. She completed her orthopaedic residency program at Wayne State where she distinguished herself becoming the chief administrative resident and won the AOA-Zimmer Resident Research Award given at the American Orthopaedic Association Meeting.

Dr. Karol moved on to Dallas for her Fellowship in Pediatric Orthopaedics and Scoliosis at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. Following fellowship she was recruited to California and was an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Davis for three years before being recruited to come back to TSRH by Tony Herring, then Chief of Staff where she practiced for the next 27 years. Dr. Herring writes, “She was a trailblazer in the finest sense of the word. In her straightforward approach to every task, big or small, she did the work and always got the job done, without fanfare or glory.”   

Dr. Karol was the consummate academic orthopaedic surgeon. She was an exceptionally skilled clinician, she was a brilliant researcher and she was a natural educator.  

Dr. Karol started her career at Scottish Rite as a general pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and finished as one- managing everything from scoliosis to clubfeet to hip dysplasia to limb length discrepancy performing both nonoperative and operative procedures for all of these conditions and more. More than her exquisite clinical skills in managing both the straightforward and complex conditions was her ability to “treat a family”. Dr. Karol had a gift connecting with patients and their families that was unparalleled and resulted in the highest patient satisfaction scores each and every month. Dr. Karol’s clinical practice positively impacted thousands of children with some of the most challenging conditions that she guided them through with the skill and humanity few can provide and ultimately lead to a better life for each of them. 

Dr. Karol advanced her academic standing at the University of Texas Southwestern achieving full professorship in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in a short 12 year period. She was a prolific researcher publishing over 100 peer-reviewed papers and presenting greater than 200 podium presentations at national and international meetings. The large volume of scientific work is only surpassed by the quality of the work which has influenced the world of medicine and led to improvements in the care of children worldwide. Her seminal works on pulmonary function in early onset scoliosis, gait and function following clubfoot treatment, optimal treatment of hips in children with cerebral palsy, orthotic management of scoliosis and energy expenditure for children with amputations have changed the field of orthopaedics for the better. Her work has been recognized by the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) winning the Heune Award (2001) and the Best Paper Award (2015), by the International Congress on Early Onset Scoliosis (ICEOS) winning the Behrooz Akbarnia Best Paper Award (2017), and the Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society (LLRS) Best Paper Award (2018). 

In the midst of all of her clinical and academic work she remained a natural and exceptionally effective educator to medical students, residents, fellows and all those around her. Whether she was in the clinic, the operating room, the hallway or on the podium, she was always passing on pearls of wisdom that we all remember and use in our daily lives as orthopaedic surgeons. She could remember diagnoses and patients when cases came up to pass on key points for upcoming challenging treatment-decisions for colleagues and former fellows. She was a sought-after speaker invited to 41 visiting professorships at leading orthopaedic centers throughout the world where she spoke on wide array of topics. 

Leadership came naturally to Dr. Karol whether it was within her own institution or on the national and international scenes. At Scottish Rite, she was the medical director of the Movement Science Laboratory for over 25 years (a position recently named in her honor), was an Assistant Chief of Staff and became the first Chief Quality Officer in the hospital’s history. The “firsts” continued as she was the first female President of POSNA in 2016 following a long history of service to the society as the chair of several committees and councils. She was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2021 and was recently inducted into the POSNA Hall of Fame. She was also the first female elected President of the Scoliosis Research Society- a commitment she could not fulfill due to her recent illness. Her leadership skills have always been recognized and she was recruited several times to become “chief” at children’s hospitals and finally took that step in 2020 when she was recruited to become Chief of Orthopaedics at Colorado Children’s Hospital. 

Above all of the professional achievements, Dr. Karol was an amazing person-elegant and sophisticated, who by her actions, encouraged all around her to be their best self and who invoked a sense of humanity in all of us. Dr. Karol was a great human being who cherished life, loved Jimmy Buffet, was a voracious reader and a master baker, enjoyed gardening, yoga and a nice glass of wine. She always took the time to get to know you and your family, was a great conversationalist with a witty sense of humor and an infectious personality. She was an inspiration to everyone including women surgeons and physicians by her example of leadership and doing it the right way while balancing her busy professional and personal life.   

Finally, and most importantly, Lori always placed her greatest importance on her family as a devoted wife, seemingly always with Bob, and most impressively a wonderful mother to three daughters who have achieved so much in their young careers in accounting, nursing and law.  We say goodbye to a colleague, a leader, an icon, a mentor and a dear friend who leaves a large void in our lives and in this profession but who we will always remember for making us a better person and physician.

We will miss you, Lori. Listen to Scoliosis Dialogues: an SRS Podcast tribute to Dr. Karol on our YouTube. 

Martin Edward Wolpin, MD

Dr. Martin Edward Wolpin died at his home in Boynton Beach Florida on February 11, 2022. The cause of death was Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Wolpin is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Sarah; his four children: Jeanne, Eric, Stephanie and Ellen; seven grandchildren: Samantha, Jessica, Jacob, Jennifer, Bradle, Max and Zack; and one great grandchild: Ruth. Dr. Wolpin was a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, Hobart College, and Downstate Medical Center.

Over his 54 year practice as an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery, Dr. Wolpin served two terms as President of Staff at Maimonides Medical Center, was a member of the Scoliosis Research Society, having joined in 1985, and a member of the New York Medical Team. He donated time to lobby Albany on behalf of physician and patient rights. Dr. Wolpin treated tens of thousands of patients and impacted innumerable lives.

He will be sorely missed.