Walter A. Hoyt Jr., MD


Published 5/1/2007
Peter Pollack

In memoriam: Walter A. Hoyt, Jr., MD

AAOS past president helped spearhead first edition of Orange Book
On March 18, 2007, Walter A. Hoyt Jr., MD, of Akron, Ohio, passed away. Dr. Hoyt served as AAOS president in 1973 and helped develop the first edition of Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured—the “Orange Book,” which remains a standard text for emergency medical services workers across the United States.

“Education must be our modus operandi, now and in the future,” said Dr. Hoyt, upon taking office at the 40th Annual Meeting in 1973. His emphasis on education, he stressed, was “so that you may meet and surpass public and political mandatory requirements which will be facing you.” Of patients, Dr. Hoyt stated, “We must commit ourselves to helping them achieve their expectations.”

To that end, Dr. Hoyt helped spearhead development of the Orange Book, serving on its Editorial Advisory Board and acting as its “great ideas man,” according to his colleague, Charles A. Rockwood Jr., MD. “If it hadn’t been for the Academy, there wouldn’t have been a textbook,” commented Dr. Rockwood at the book’s 30th anniversary in 2001, “and if it hadn’t been for Walter, there wouldn’t be one either. We owe an awful lot to Walter.”

Dr. Hoyt was born in Ann Arbor, Mich., a second-generation orthopaedist. He graduated from Amherst College in 1937, and received his medical degree from Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1941. During World War II, he was a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps serving under Gen. George S. Patton in the Third Army. After the war ended, Dr. Hoyt took his orthopaedic residency at Duke University Hospitals in Durham, N.C.

In 1949, Dr. Hoyt moved to Akron, where his father, Walter A. Hoyt, MD, served as director of the orthopaedic departments at Akron City Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Akron. He would later follow in his father’s footsteps and lead those departments as well. He helped establish the musculoskeletal curriculum at Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy and founded Summa Health System’s Walter A. Hoyt Jr., Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory.

“He made everything look easy,” wrote J. Patrick Flanagan, MD, in memoriam to Dr. Hoyt. “Despite his excellent surgical technique, I learned more from him and about him by watching him examine a patient. He never appeared to be in a hurry, but each part of the physical examination flowed from one to the other in a very comprehensive and fluid fashion (similar to his operative technique).”

“He was an orthopaedic surgeon’s orthopaedic surgeon,” agreed Barry J. Greenberg, MD, one of Dr. Hoyt’s partners. “He was a teacher, a mentor, a jack-of-all-trades. He had charisma, skill, knowledge, and a great sense of humor. We’re going to miss him.”

“Probably the most important thing to me was the opportunity to teach others how I thought about the delivery of health care,” said Dr. Hoyt in an address to AAOS in 1982. “I saw it as a four-legged stool. Three legs are research, education and patient care. The fourth leg, which gives it total stability, is the quality with which you live your private life, your professional life—and the quality with which you deal with people. That is so very important.”

Donations in memory of Dr. Hoyt may be made to the Robertson-Hoyt Research Foundation, 444 N. Main St., Akron, Ohio 44310, or to the memorial of your choice.


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