Jacquelin Perry dies, leaving legacy as pioneering orthopedic surgeon

Jacquelin Perry dies: She pioneered treatments for polio patients. Jacqueline Perry was one of the first 10 women to be certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

 Dr. Jacquelin Perry, a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon who pioneered treatments to help polio patients regain movement, has died at age 94 in California.

Perry death was announced by Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, where she worked for nearly 60 years.

In the 1950s, Perry developed spinal fusion surgery to help paralyzed polio patients regain some movement. Decades later, some returned with post-polio symptoms of pain and muscle weakness. Perry became an expert into their conditions.

Perry also was known as an expert in the human gait. Her research into helping people with walking difficulties led to practices that are still used.

According to Polioplace.org, Perry was...

"known among her peers as the Grande Dame of Orthopaedics, Dr. Jacquelin Perry was one of the first ten women to be certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. She broke new ground in laboratory research by becoming the country’s foremost expert on gait analysis. She is co-author, with Judith Burnfield, of Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function, the classic text on gait analysis.

The only child of a clothing-shop clerk and a traveling salesman. She recalls, “I knew at about age 10 that I wanted to be a doctor. I read every medical book in the Los Angeles library.” 

After World War II, she used the G.I. Bill to study medicine and became the first woman orthopaedic surgeon to graduate from the University of California, San Francisco. Like many orthopaedic surgeons, she was skilled with hand tools and improvised and built many of the rehabilitation devices she used with her patients."

"She was a giant, a revered figure in her field,"  Greg Waskul, executive director of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center told The Los Angeles Times. "Dr. Perry was so creative and innovative. Most of the great doctors have one specialty, but she came up with many new theories and exercises to keep people moving."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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