Denis S. Drummond, emeritus professor of orthopaedic surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine and former chief of orthopedics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, died June 18 of heart failure. He was 84.
Dr. Drummond was born in Montreal. He earned his BA in 1957 from McGill University and his medical degree from the McGill University Medical School in 1962. He completed advanced training in orthopedic surgery in 1968 at the University of Toronto.
From 1970-1977, Dr. Drummond served as an assistant professor at McGill’s medical school and was also an attending surgeon at Shriners Hospital for Children, Montreal. He spent seven years as director of pediatric orthopedics at the University of Wisconsin before joining CHOP, where he served as chief of orthopaedics 1985-1996. In 1985 he also joined the faculty at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. He retired early, in 2004, and earned emeritus status from PSOM at that time. He earned emeritus status from CHOP in 2012.
He was known as a skilled surgeon, with a particular interest in spine deformity and pediatric cervical spine anomalies and injuries. His pediatric spine thought-leadership was widely recognized and included both implant design (he was co-holder of six patents), surgical technique improvement and outcomes research. He published more than 180 original research studies and 42 chapters. He was legendary for his mentoring of young orthopaedic scholars, vetting ideas and very frankly critiquing project ideas, results and manuscripts. He was a six-time winner of teaching awards (Nicholson Award or Dean’s Award) at Penn/CHOP. His passion for teaching and mentoring young surgeons is honored each year with CHOP’s annual Denis Drummond Rising Star Visiting Professorship, which was initiated in 2016.
In a tribute to Dr. Drummond, Jack Flynn, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at CHOP, and John Dormans, an emeritus professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery at CHOP, wrote: “Denis’s signature legacy at CHOP was initiating the transformation of the Orthopaedics Division from a small group of clinicians into the internationally recognized, academic thought-leader powerhouse that it is today.“
Dr. Drummond helped create the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA). He served as president of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Study Group and chair of the Merger Committee of Pediatric Orthopaedic Study Group and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society that navigated the merger process leading to the birth of POSNA. He was also a leader in the Scoliosis Research Society, serving on the SRS Board of Directors for 10 years, including president 2001-2002. He was the co-recipient of the SRS Hibbs Award for best paper (2006) and the SRS Lifetime Achievement Award (2011).
Dr. Drummond is survived by his wife, Joan; sons, Jim (Anna), Keith (Ellen), Bruce (Lisa) and Terry (Chella); and grandchildren, Ian, Brenna, Luke, Zoe, Grace, Ben, Sara, Julia, Georgia and Charlie.