International Honor Recognizes Lifetime Achievement

Oct 12, 2010, 17:43 ET from Union Memorial Hospital

Dr. E. F. Shaw Wilgis to Receive 'Pioneer of Hand Surgery' Award

BALTIMORE, Md., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- E. F. Shaw Wilgis, MD, a founding member of Union Memorial Hospital's Curtis National Hand Center, has achieved the Pioneer in Hand Surgery Award from the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (IFSSH).  



The prestigious award uniquely identifies leaders in hand surgery whose accomplishments will influence generations of hand specialists and benefit innumerable patients for years to come.  Dr. Wilgis will receive the award during the opening ceremony of the IFSSH Congress in Seoul, South Korea October 31, 2010.

This is the second time a hand surgeon from the Curtis National Hand Center has been recognized.  Dr. Raymond Curtis, a contemporary of Dr. Wilgis, and for whom the hand center was named, was honored in 1992.

"What he is best known for," said hand surgeon Dr. Michael McClinton, "has gone around the world. Dr. Wilgis investigated circulation problems of the hand and arm.  He studied blood samples to understand the physiology of discontinued circulation and how it could reverse itself.  This controlled lack of circulation is something we as hand surgeons benefit from everyday, because every hand surgeon in the world uses tourniquets multiple times a day.

"He was known to have very large hands," Dr. McClinton added, "and in spite of that, he worked on little babies and performed delicate microsurgical procedures with amazing skill.  He was very tactile and all of us who trained with him tried to emulate his skill."

On behalf of the American Society for Hand Surgery, Dr. Tom Graham, former Chief of the Curtis National Hand Center, supported the nomination of Dr. Wilgis.  He wrote:  

"...Shaw saw the merit of integrating technical education, especially in microsurgery, into the delivery of hand surgery fellowships and built the Raymond M. Curtis Microsurgery Training Center that has imbued legions of trainees and colleagues with advanced tissue handling and microsurgical skills, while contributing to the associated literature.  

"Creativity without commitment would never have yielded the influential results that Shaw has realized on the local, regional, national and international stage for our specialty.  He kept his patients, trainees and colleagues at the center of a lifetime campaign to further the three pillars of the modern physician:  clinical, academic and executive."

Dr. Wilgis was one of four surgeons who built the Hand Center at Union Memorial Hospital when hand surgery was an emerging specialty.  Dr. Wilgis became Chief when Dr. Curtis retired in 1982.  

His leadership elevated the profile of Union Memorial's Hand Center to national prominence, ultimately earning the national designation by the 103rd Congress in 1994.

In 2000, Dr. Wilgis retired as Chief to become the first Director of Research for the CNHC and works tirelessly to mentor the dozens of residents and fellows who train at Union Memorial.  

"He has trained a lot of hand surgeons, many of whom are leaders in the field today," said Dr. McClinton.

Dr. Wilgis is a Past Chairman of the Board of MedStar Health and past President of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.


MedStar Health is a not-for-profit, community-based healthcare organization that owns and operates nine major hospitals and other healthcare services in the Baltimore/Washington region.  The hospitals, which include both teaching and community facilities, are Franklin Square Hospital Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Harbor Hospital, and Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, Montgomery General Hospital in Olney, and St. Mary's Hospital in St. Mary's, Maryland, and Georgetown University Hospital, National Rehabilitation Hospital, and Washington Hospital Center in the District of Columbia.

As one of the largest employers in the region with more than 26,000 employees and over 5,300 affiliated physicians, MedStar Health hospitals and healthcare organizations serve more than half-a-million patients each year. MedStar Health is based in Columbia, Maryland and is one of the largest health systems in the mid-Atlantic region.

Areas of clinical excellence include cardiology, cardiac surgery, oncology services, rehabilitation, orthopedic surgery, women's services and emergency and trauma services.

MedStar Health's comprehensive services include primary, urgent and sub acute care, medical education and research.  Other health-related services include assisted living, home health, and long-term care.  MedStar Health also operates nursing homes, senior housing, adult day care, rehabilitation and ambulatory centers.  The organization also maintains MedStar Physician Partners, a comprehensive physician network in the Baltimore-Washington area.

SOURCE Union Memorial Hospital