Brazilian Society for Surgery of the Hand BSSH
It is paradoxical the relation between the wars and the advances of the medicine. The results of conflicts, between victims and wounded, end up stimulating the evolution of techniques and medical knowledge. And it was in a war scenario, specifically World War II, that the specialty of Hand Surgery arose.
The story began with the meeting of three American citizens, a politician, a general and a duck hunter. The politician was named Franklin Delano Roosevelt, son of aristocrats, athletic individual, brilliant student, who in the summer of 1921, at 39, was a victim of poliomyelitis, which left him paraplegic.
From then on, it was two years trying to get back to walking. During this time, he learned a lot about orthopedics and rehabilitation, when he eventually met Norman Kirk, the general, a general surgeon who eventually became an orthopedist. Kirk was appointed by Roosevelt, then president of the United States, as head of the Medical Service of the Armed Forces.
In the early 1940s, there was a huge concentration of military personnel in San Francisco - CA and it was there that Norman met Sterling Bunnell, the father of the specialty, the duck hunter.
Trained in medicine by UCLA, he served in France during the Second World War, in the team of Neurology. He loved birds and animals. During the war, he learned to fly and when he returned to the United States, he bought his own airplane, which he used for work and leisure.
On one of these tours, attempting to land in Yosemite Park (USA), he suffered an accident and fractured his femoral neck, which condemned him for pain and lameness for the rest of his life. In the period between the wars, he wrote many articles on hand surgery.
It defended the concept of the regional surgeon, a professional who could take care of bones, joints, nerves, and rebuild skin and soft parts. In 1944 he was invited by Norman Kirk to help treat upper limb injuries to American soldiers returning from the fronts of battle in Europe, Africa, and Asia. They were so numerous that they were baptized legion of cripples.
At age 62, Bunnell left his private clinic and began traveling around the country, creating nine hand treatment centers: hand centers. By 1945, approximately 10,000 patients had already been treated at these centers. Many young surgeons were trained there, such as Barski, Littler, Fowler, among others. The success was so great that in 1946, they founded the American Society of Hand Surgery.
Meanwhile, in Brazil, heavily influenced by the English and French, some general surgeons and plastics performed surgeries on their hands and became the pioneers of the specialty.