In January of 1929, Francis Scott arrived in Huntington from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was the son of a family practitioner in Michigan. He came to Huntington to staff a small children’s hospital located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eleventh Street. He was a well-trained orthopedic surgeon who rapidly developed a very extensive practice.
In January of 1929, Francis Scott arrived in Huntington from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was the son of a family practitioner in Michigan. He came to Huntington to staff a small children’s hospital located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eleventh Street. He was a well-trained orthopedic surgeon who rapidly developed a very extensive practice. He was on the staff of several hospitals at that time including St.Mary’s Hospital, the C&O Railroad Hospital and a consultant to Logan General Hospital. After its construction, he also staffed Morris Memorial Hospital in Milton, a children’s hospital primarily populated with children who had orthopedic deformities, especially due to polio.
Dr. Francis Scott was in the second graduating class after the founding of the American Academy of Orthopedic surgeons in the mid 1930s. I recall as a child vividly, that often, children would be brought to our home from the hospital to complete their convalescence following orthopedic corrective procedures. I carried on this tradition for many years. Dr. Francis Scott’s practice was interrupted shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack in December of 1941 and he served in the United States Navy until early 1946 when he returned to Huntington and again resumed a very active practice. The office at that time was located at 1139 Fourth Avenue in the old Professional Building. This building was flooded, as was the rest of downtown Huntington, in 1937. Dr. Scott, Sr. commented that, at the time, the office had the best location in town, as we were right next to the bus station. Many more people traveled by bus at that time than now.
During the Second World War while in San Francisco awaiting transport to the South Pacific Islands, he had the opportunity to spend several weeks with Dr. Sterling Bunnell, the father of American Hand Surgery. This was an invaluable experience for him at that time. In the period following the Second World War, a residency program in orthopedic surgery was established at St. Mary’s with Dr. Scott, Sr. as the preceptor. At that point, the resident would spend a year at St. Mary’s, a year at Morris Memorial Children’s Hospital and a year working under supervision at the Logan General Hospital where he had exposure to a wide variety of trauma from underground mining. Prior to graduating medical school, I worked as an x-ray technician in the office, giving vacation relief to the other technicians. As a resident, I spent vacations helping staff the office. One of my duties, as a young man, was to re-sharpen the needles used for injection. This was in the era prior to disposable needles and the same needles were sterilized, sharpened and reused. Dr. Scott Sr.’s comment to me as a young physician is one which I’ve attempted to follow over my lifetime. He said, “Tom, be kind to your patients, tell them the truth, and everything else will take care of itself”. I began a full-time practice in Huntington in 1963. At the time, there were twenty-six board certified orthopedic surgeons in West Virginia. Currently there is perhaps eight times that number. I spent some of the time in the early weeks of my return to Huntington visiting physicians in the TriState area who referred the patients to our office. This re-established and reaffirmed the fact that their patients would be well cared for in the area of Orthopedics. The Drs. Scott, father and son, continued to hold a traditional orthopedic practice; that is with a strong emphasis on the care or treatment of children’s deformity. The ped in Orthopedics is a reference to the Greek word for child, not Latin for foot. Thus the early emphasis in orthopedic care in this country centered on treating children.
Dr. Scott Sr., helped organize and staff a system of field clinics to provide orthopedic care for the children of our state with board-certified specialty care. A generation later, I became director of this program. Unfortunately, Dr. Scott Sr.’s cardiac status was unstable, and his continued practice time was limited to two years after my arrival. In 1966, Dr. Colin Craythorne joined me as my first associate and partner. He was the first orthopedist in West Virginia to use the arthroscope. He and Dr. Jose Ricard started holding a sports medicine conference every year which has continued to this day. In 1971, Dr. Robert Lowe joined us. He was a native of Morehead, Kentucky, and had his orthopedic training at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Lowe was a very innovative orthopedic surgeon. He started holding scoliosis screening clinics throughout the state and became very proficient in the corrective operative procedures for the treatment of scoliosis. He taught many local neurosurgeons spinal instrumentation in the treatment of congenital, degenerative and traumatic spinal disorders. He had medical conferences for the treatment of industrial back injuries for many years. He was innovative in the recognition that preadolescent injuries in youth football could be very disabling. Total hip replacement with methyl methacrylate cementing began in 1971. Dr. Lowe and I did the first 50 procedures together, and then I continued continued on my own with a growing interest in hip replacement as Dr. Lowe concentrated on spinal surgery. Dr. John Mullen was the next member to joint this practice. He trained at the Mayo Clinic and our joint replacement care increased exponentially after his arrival. The practice had moved from downtown Huntington to a location next to Cabell Huntington Hospital. This was the first multi-suite office physicians building outside of the downtown area which gave physicians a timely access to the hospitals. In 1978, Dr. Earl Foster joined the group. In 1980, the practice was moved from a location next to Cabell Hospital to the Highlawn Medical Building at St. Mary’s Hospital where it has been for the past 40 years. Dr. Foster was the first fellowship-trained physician in our group and rapidly developed a large practice in upper extremity injuries and deformities. He had trained at the University of Iowa, followed by a hand fellowship In New Orleans under the direction of Dr. Daniel Riordan, a disciple of Dr. Bunnell. Later in the 1980s, we were joined in practice by Dr. Kyle Hegg, another Mayo Clinic trainee. Dr Hegg became our second total joint specialist. Dr. Foster made a great impact on the practice as one of the first true hand specialist in the state. He further advanced specialty care with the vision and key role in the development of the Three Gables Outpatient Surgery Center, the first specialty surgical hospital in the area.
Drs. Craythorne and Lowe along with Dr. James Heckman cared for Marshall athletic teams from 1971 for twenty years. Dr. Heckman was in an independent practice in Huntington, leaving the athletic rotation in mid-1970s. Dr. Dan Carr joined the group with significant interest in the treatment of high level athletes, and brought with him the techniques of modern arthroscopy. He was our first dedicated sports medicine specialist. He also had the honor of being a USA Olympic team physician as well.
Dr. Jack Steel joined us from West Virginia University in Morgantown. He had a strong interest in the treatment of traumatic sport injuries. Dr. Steel has been extremely active representing West Virginia on the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Board of Counselors, which is a body that advocates for orthopedic surgeons. He has been a long-time educational program chairman for the West Virginia Orthopedic Association. Dr. Craythorne, Dr. Foster and Dr. Hegg were the first “official” Marshall University team physicians. They were subsequently joined by Dr. Steel and Dr. Carr. The care of Marshall student athletes was a charitable duty and was enjoyed by the doctors. Dr. Scott Riley joined as our second fellowship trained hand surgeon but left after several years for Lexington so his wife, a doctor of psychology, could participate in the famous NUNS Dementia Study. Dr Steve Lovejoy joined the group as our second spine surgeon. He developed a great interest in pediatric orthopedics and in fact left the practice for a year to complete a prestigious pediatric orthopedic fellowship, returning to Scott Orthopedic Center as the only Pediatric Orthopedic specialist outside of WVU in the state of West Virginia. He eventually left us for an academic opportunity at Vanderbilt University, but has returned to Huntington often to staff a pediatric clinic orthopedic with Dr Steel. Dr. Luis Bolano, a professor from the University of Kentucky, joined our practice in 1995, replacing Dr. Riley, as a hand and upper extremity surgeon. He was hand fellowship training under Dr. David Green in San Antonio. He traveled to Italy where he received additional training in complex fracture fixation and limb deformity and lengthening techniques. He is renowned as one of America’s more skillful Orthopedic operative surgeons having introduced complex microvascular surgery to the area. He has an enormous capacity for work. We have had many other physicians come and go, including Dr. Lance Matheny , Dr. David Thompson , Dr. Francisco Valentine , Dr. Brian Hecht(Joint replacement), Dr. John Iaquinto (Trauma) and Dr. Jeffrey Shook (Podiatry). Each has left something behind of value. In recent years we were joined by Dr. Stanley Tao, Dr. Steve Lochow, Dr. Kevin Brown, Dr. Vivek Neginhal and Dr. Karim Boukhemis. They are now part of what constitutes our core group. Dr. Lochow and Dr. Neginhal established the Joint Center at St. Mary’s Hospital, bringing the anterior approach in hip arthroplasty to the area. They have brought the computer age in Hip and Knee replacement to the area and now have tremendous experience in these new techniques. Dr. Boukhemis, another WVU Orthopedic residency graduate, came with fellowship training in foot and ankle surgery, and along with Dr. Brown provided us with a new level of advanced foot and ankle care. This combined level of expertise is unique to the Tristate area. Dr. Tao came to us with Sports Medicine fellowship training. This brought to Scott Orthopedic Center even more advance arthroscopic techniques of the knee and shoulder. He has contributed significantly to Marshall University athletics and the local high school sports outreach injury programs. The practice has been further supplemented by the addition of physicians’ assistants, who provide much needed help in this extremely high volume practice. This well-rounded group of physicians along with a group of highly trained nurses in the field of Orthopedics has served the area with expert orthopedic care for decades. Several of these nurses have worked with the group for over 40 years. These nurses had over 100 years of combined experience in the treatment of orthopedic impairment. These nurses include Mrs. Karen Ramey, Mrs. Jean Kouns, Mrs. Renee Hosey, Ms. Chris Clifford, Mrs. Beth Finley and Mrs. Brenda Holley. Scott Orthopedics has been a part of several important community professional relationships and innovations in musculoskeletal care. During the early years following the formation of the Marshall Medical School, the practice provided orthopedic education for all medical students and family practice and surgical residents. I acted as the chairman of the orthopedic section of the Department of Surgery for eighteen years. Medical students were lectured by our surgeons and they shadowed these doctors in the office. For years, General Surgery residents rotated through Orthopedics. With the formation of the medical school, approved as a VA venture by the efforts of Dr. Esposito and Senator Byrd, the Scott Orthopedic orthopedists joined competing groups as a unit to service the VA Hospital with clinical and operative care. The VA rotation was an integral part of the Marshall University medical student’s education. This provided unquestioned foundation for the clinical and surgical teaching of the medical school from its first class going forward. Dr. Robert Smith, who was part of the Huntington orthopedic cooperative providing VA care assumed a full-time role at the VA. This coordinated with retirement of his partner Dr. James Heckman. Dr. Lowe served the medical school as professor of Pediatric Orthopedics, a valuable role needed for approval of the Marshall Pediatric Residency Program. Dr. Lowe helped organize the Cabell Huntington Surgery Center which continues to this day and has served the community well.
Scott Orthopedics has been a significant partner, with state and local industry and manufacturing in the care and the treatment of industrial injuries. In the early days, we encouraged each of the new partners to go underground in the coal mine to see exactly the stresses that were placed on the men in this occupation. Also, we observed the men who worked on the tugboats on the Ohio River and in the steel and nickel industry. Iron Workers, steel workers, pipefitters all came under our care. Our original in-house physical therapy department grew into Huntington Physical Therapy, one of the areas most respected and longstanding private therapy groups. The practice has provided other services in our community other than direct patient care. This would include Dr. Steel’s attendance at the Spina Bifida Children’s Camp each summer. The practice provided funds to develop a soccer center under the direction of the YMCA. Of special interest is the support that Scott Orthopedic gave certain physicians of other specialties during their early years of practice. We served as an incubator for new practices in the Huntington area. This included a rheumatologist, a neurosurgeon and a neurologist, thus bringing a multidisciplinary approach to musculoskeletal disorders that did not exist. The wives of physicians have been community minded. Mrs. Lowe was one of four Junior League members who joined organizers and served as Treasurer of the Ronald McDonald House. She serves on their board of directors to this day. Scott Orthopedic organized and sponsored the main fund raiser for the house for years, the annual Ronald McDonald Golf Tournament. Mrs. Tao has been involved in habitat for Humanity, and the united way for many years. Many others, including our employees, have been involved in countless community projects. Three Gables Surgical Hospital, the area’s first and only surgical specialty hospital came from a Scott Orthopedics implemented vision. Three Gables’ success is directly related to our talented physicians’ innovative perspective of advancing orthopedic care in the Tri-State area. These practices of Orthopedic surgery, a specialty surgical hospital , physical therapy, workers compensation care , physician recruitment and dedicated community involvement have had a tremendous impact on the improvement of general patient care and specialty musculoskeletal care within the tristate area. These relationships have been developed and maintained over many years and continue to this day. It is our premise that all members of Scott Orthopedic Group (physicians and staff) should have unlimited access and support to continue medical education and potential for career advancement. Our physicians have visited overseas and throughout the United States to observe and learn and bring back the latest techniques in orthopedic practice. This lifelong learning has extended to our non physicians as well. As an example, one of the clinical aides in our office completed his undergraduate studies, received a Masters Degree in Business Administration and eventually became our chief administrator for many years. The institution that has evolved, now known as Scott Orthopedic Center, is a group of board-certified Orthopedic surgeons banding together to provide quality care for the residents of this region. Each surgeon may develop a field of strong interest or subspecialization within the specialty of Orthopedics, so expert care and the latest techniques are expert care is the norm. The Scott Orthopedic Group is oldest, continuous, professional entity in the City of Huntington. The practice has provided care for the people of the TriState area for over 90 years to the present time. I refer back to the advice of Dr. Francis Scott: Our doctors and nurses practice and strive to “be kind to the patients and tell them the truth, the rest will take care of itself” We hope to continue to offer this type of care for the next 90 years.