When applying for a fellowship in 1985, Mark P. Figgie was advised by his brother, then a fellow at Hospital for Special Surgery, that "if you train at HSS, you will be able to take care of anyone."
As the current Chief of the Surgical Arthritis Service, Dr. Figgie credits his career to HSS, an institution that has provided interdisciplinary resources, access to a high volume of challenging cases, and given him the ability to effectively care for patients. Dr. Figgie began his HSS journey by accepting a fellowship in Special Surgery's Biomechanics department working with Albert H. Burstein, PhD.
Dr. Figgie's experience with the biomechanics department proved invaluable. "We were taking challenging cases and coming up with creative solutions for them," he explains. "HSS was often the only place willing to take these cases on. Many of our patients required custom made implants, which is a unique service that we can provide."
The following year, Dr. Figgie accepted a fellowship with the Comprehensive Arthritis Program with Service Chief, Allan E. Inglis, MD, whose teaching style and legacy had a lasting impact on Dr. Figgie.
In 2011, this legacy prompted Dr. Figgie and HSS to initiate the Allan E. Inglis Chair in Surgical Arthritis, which supports educational and clinical research efforts in orthopedics, inflammatory, and rheumatoid arthritis. "Dr. Inglis is a great man and a fantastic mentor," says Dr. Figgie, the first holder of the Chair.
Today, Dr. Figgie and his team treat patients with hemophilia, skeletal dysplasia, and inflammatory arthritis. "I try to carry on the approach of taking on some of the toughest problems that we see," He continued, "we're the premier institution for orthopedics and renowned throughout the world, and we often get referrals from surgeons who lack the capacity or experience to treat these patients as well as we can."
When reviewing his will, Dr. Figgie included a bequest to HSS, which will support the Allan E. Inglis Chair in Surgical Arthritis, and became a member of the Wilson Society, the Hospital's legacy society.
"You want to give back to the Hospital because of how great the experience has been," he explains. "The experience is not just treating the most difficult inflammatory arthritis cases, but the quality of the fellows and residents has been outstanding. We teach them and also learn from them; it's kept me invigorated through all of these years."
"HSS is a unique place," reflects Dr. Figgie. "We have a high patient volume and still, we have a strong sense of community here."
That camaraderie he shares with his peers, the staff, and the fellows and residents is one of the things that has kept him at HSS. "People told me your first job is to get your started – your first five years," recalls Dr, Figgie. "Here I am 25 years later and it's been a memorable experience at a terrific institution. I still love what I do and working with these fine people."
We are very grateful to Dr. Figgie for his gift and for his membership in the Wilson Society.