Published 9/1/2007

In Memoriam

Rocco Anthony Calandruccio, MD
AAOS past president and total joint replacement pioneer was committed to his patients, his family, and the field of orthopaedics

Rocco Anthony Calandruccio, MD, of Germantown, Tenn., known by many as “Dr. Cal,” passed away on July 28, 2007. Dr. Calandruccio’s long and distinguished career in orthopaedic surgery included serving as AAOS president in 1977.

Born on February 27, 1923, in White Plains, N.Y., Dr. Calandruccio graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., earned his medical degree from Yale Medical School, and completed his orthopaedic residency at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tenn., where he practiced orthopaedic surgery for 36 years and served as chief of staff.

Dr. Calandruccio became a pioneer in adult joint reconstruction in the United States after studying under Sir John Charnley, inventor of the first hip implant. Dr. Calandruccio also developed procedures and implants that enhanced patient care, including a triangular clamp used to fuse the ankle joint.

S. Terry Canale, MD, who worked with Dr. Calandruccio for approximately 20 years at the Campbell Clinic, says that the orthopaedic community has lost one of its luminaries with Dr. Calandruccio’s passing.

“Dr. Calandruccio was a pioneer in total joint replacements,” said Dr. Canale. “He was one of the stars of orthopaedics in the South for a number of years and led the Campbell Clinic to prominence.”

The former AAOS president generously volunteered his time—not only to the Academy, but also to various other orthopaedic associations such as the Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society and the Orthopaedic Research Society. Dr. Calandruccio was also professor of orthopaedic surgery and head of the department of orthopaedics at the University of Tennessee and had served at Walter Reed Military Hospital in Washington, D.C.

During his presidential address at the AAOS Annual Meeting in 1977, Dr. Calandruccio emphasized the importance of orthopaedic research and urged the fellows to contribute generously to the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation.

“Research is the lifeline of orthopaedic surgery,” he said. “Patient care is improved by clinical observation and correlation as well as by the refinement of surgical procedures, but the giant steps are based on physiologic and biologic observations and experiments.”

The numerous scientific articles that Dr. Calandruccio wrote and the chapters he authored in the highly respected Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics testify to his personal commitment to conducting research and sharing his knowledge. His many patients remember him fondly.

“Dr. Calandruccio made a lifetime impression on our family after casting our daughter’s dislocated hips in 1963,” wrote Emma Hood of Olive Branch, Miss., in memoriam of Dr. Calandruccio. “Our family will be forever grateful for his kindness and care.”

Former patient Nancy Wertz of Memphis wrote to express her gratitude for the treatment that Dr. Calandruccio provided in the 1970s after she severely injured her hip. According to Wertz, the excellent care she received from Dr. Calandruccio made it possible for her to have a successful hip surgery recently.

“I have hope of walking relatively pain-free today because of Dr. Cal’s early treatment and research,” wrote Wertz. “His legacy is evident in the miraculous work of the Campbell Clinic doctors today.”

After retiring, Dr. Calandruccio continued to devote his attention to his family and his hobbies, which included home renovation, woodworking, and creating handmade gifts.

Donations in memory of Dr. Calandruccio may be sent to the Rocco A. Calandruccio Research and Education Fund, 1400 South Germantown Parkway, Germantown, TN 38138, or to a charity of your choice.

In Memorian

Donald R. Bjornson, MD
April 13, 2007
Idaho Falls, Idaho

Rocco A. Calandruccio, MD
July 28, 2007
Germantown, Tenn.

Thomas F. Corrigan, MD
May 1, 2007
La Conner, Wash.

Joseph E. Nelms, MD
July 20, 2007
Gulf Shores, Ala.

Michael John Singelyn, MD
July 5, 2007
Newport Beach, Calif.

Marcus J. Stewart, MD
Memphis, Tenn.

Robert W. Youngblood Jr., MD
May 3, 2007
Medford, Ore.