Trivia about the Philippine Orthopedic Association

Orthopedic surgery as a specialty started in 1945 following the liberation of Manila by USAFFE,when hundreds of Filipinos were disabled by the war and were treated at the Philippine Civil Hospital. At that time General Basilio J. Valdes, Secretary of Health appointed Dr. Jose V. De Los Santos as the first Medical Director.

As more doctors were trained in orthopedic and traumatic surgery, the need for a specialty became apparent. Thus the Philippine Society of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology was formally organized in December 11,1949. Dr. Januario Estrada Sr., President of the Philippine College of Surgeons inducted the first officers as follows: Dr. Jose V. De Los Santos, President: Dr. Ambrosio F. Tangco, Vice President; Dr. Augusto S. Besa, Secretary-Treasurer, and Dr. Rodolfo P.Gonzales. Three fellows were inducted by President De Los Santos, namely: Dr. Basilio J. Valdes, Dr. Buenaventura J. Canto, Jr., and Dr. Benjamin V. Tamesis. Also inducted were 19Associate Fellows who were specialists in radiology, plastic surgery, pathology and traumatic surgery. The new society was renamed “Philippine Orthopedic Association” after a few years.

From the beginning, the new organization established high standards in its objectives. Applicants for Fellows were required to submit records of 100 orthopedic operations, of which 50 major cases, and not any of which are alike. They have to undergo a written examination and are required to perform an operation with a member of the examination committee present. Inspite of this, the Philippine Medical Association required specialty societies to form Specialty Boards. A few years ago, the Philippine Board of Orthopedics was organized (1974)and is now responsible for giving certifications to Fellows in orthopedics.

The organization survived its formative years. Scientific meetings were held as regularly as possible and new members were admitted. At present there are fellows and Diplomates.

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