Doctor Richard Rothman dies, leaves behind decades-long orthopaedics legacy

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Dr. Richard Rothman dies, leaves behind decades-long legacy: Ali Gorman reports on Action News at 6 p.m., October 22, 2018

Many in the orthopaedic medical community are mourning the loss of Doctor Richard Rothman.

He founded the Rothman Institute here in Philadelphia in 1970 and over the years, grew an empire.

Many colleagues and friends have been posting condolences on Twitter, calling Dr. Rothman an "incredible leader," a "true pioneer," and a "true giant in orthopaedics."

We went to his former office Monday, where it sits quiet and clean.

His surgical helmet and an orthopaedic tool are on display to commemorate Dr. Richard Rothman's last surgery, performed just this past May.

He died over the weekend after a long and quiet battle with cancer. He was 81 years old.



Dr. Alex Vaccaro, now president of Rothman Institute, was one of Dr. Rothman's first surgical residents.

"Very methodical, very caring, empathetic, he had a great way of communicating with people," he said.

Dr. Rothman founded the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in the 1970s after learning how to do a total hip replacement in England and bringing the procedure here.

He went on to perform more than 50,000 total hip and knee replacements.

He invited me in to watch one shortly after I joined Action News. His passion to help others was clear.

Dr. Vaccaro says that's something else he passed on.

"Looking out for patients rights, making sure people listen to physicians so we could take better care of patients, especially Medicare patients," he said.

Dr. Rothman was also a successful business-man growing his empire to now almost 200 doctors in 30 offices.

He was also a husband to Marsha, a father and a grandfather who will be missed by many.

"What we miss the most is just laughing with him - nothing to do with orthopaedics," said Dr. Vaccaro.

Dr. Rothman's legacy lives on not just in his name, but also in the hands of hundreds of surgeons he helped train.

Those surgeons are now helping people with broken-down joints to get moving again and get their lives back, so his impact continues.

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