Freiberg Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

History of Freiberg Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

Nicholas Andry coined the term "orthopaedics" during 1741 by combining the Greek words "orthos" ("straight") and "pais" ("child"). Orthopaedics originally was a branch of medicine with a very narrow focus - the prevention and treatment of deformities in children.

Freiberg Orthopaedics helped give the term a much broader definition. Dr. Albert Freiberg founded what is now called Freiberg Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine during 1890, making us the oldest orthopaedic practice in the Tri-State area. According to Dr. Frank E. Kugler, M.D., writing in the Cincinnati Journal of Medicine (Vol. 57, No. 1, January, 1976), "Dr. Albert H. Freiberg (1868-1940) was the best known early orthopedist in Cincinnati, and probably contributed more than any other to the growth of orthopedics in this area".

He was the first formally trained orthopaedist in the state of Ohio. In order to learn from the man considered to be the preeminent orthopaedist in Europe during the late 19th Century, he became a student of Dr. Julius Wolff of Germany.

Dr. Freiberg published 92 articles on orthopaedics, beginning a tradition which the Freiberg physicians of today continue. Conducting research and publishing on subjects within their sub-specialties of orthopaedics is a source of pride for our current physicians.

Among the distinctions earned or accorded to Dr. Freiberg were:

  • serving as Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at Walter Reed Hospital during World War I
  • assisting in the preparation of the Manual of Orthopaedic Surgery used by the U.S. Army during World War I
  • being appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to chair the Advisory Committee for Crippled Children, whose purpose was to provide information on polio/infantile paralysis to the most well-known victim of the disease (the letter from President Roosevelt is on display at our Kenwood office, as well as one from the First Lady)
  • founding the Brace Shop, originally a facility which provided equipment to children with polio and now a general supplier of orthotics
  • founding what is now called the Ohio Orthopaedic Society

He is still remembered at the University of Cincinnati because the medical library is named for Dr. Freiberg.

During 1928, Joseph Freiberg (1898-1974) joined his father's practice. The younger Dr. Freiberg established the orthopaedic internship program at the Cincinnati College of Medicine during 1939. He succeeded his father as Director of the Orthopaedic Department at Children's Hospital. Like his father (1910), he served as President of the American Orthopedic Association (1962) and took an interest in medical literature, serving as the Associate Editor of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

His son Richard (1932 -- ) joined the practice during 1962. He succeeded his father as the leader of the practice after his father retired during 1969. Richard has become a nationally respected leader in the search for the prevention and cure of arthritis. He served as the Director of Orthopaedic Training on Arthritis at what was then called the Cincinnati General Hospital. He has retired from the family practice, but serves on the staff of the Veterans Administration Hospital of Cincinnati.

The history of Freiberg Orthopaedics involves more than one family. The Perlman family was critical in the founding and continuation of Freiberg Orthopaedics. Dr. Robert Perlman (1905-1987) and Dr. Joseph Freiberg were associates at General Hospital and decided to become associates in private practice. Dr. Perlman served as President of the Staff and Director of Orthopaedic Services at Jewish Hospital.

Dr. Aaron Perlman (1917- ) joined the practice after having studied with his uncle and Dr. Joseph Freiberg at the Cincinnati College of Medicine and serving in the Army during World War II. He began teaching at the College of Medicine during 1949 and continued to do so until his retirement during 1990. His legacy at the UC College of Medicine is The Aaron Perlman Award, presented every year to the resident at the UC College of Medicine who "shows the greatest compassion for patients and exemplifying the highest quality of patient care". He continued what is now a long established connection between Freiberg Orthopaedics and Children's Hospital by serving as Director of Juvenile Orthopaedic Service. His legacy at Children's is The Aaron Perlman Cerebral Palsy Center.

Total Hip Replacement

Currently, there are two families associated with our practice - the Jolsons and the the Willises.

Dr. Richard Jolson joined the practice during 1960, retiring during 2001. During 1963, Dr. Jolson created the Spina Bifida clinic at Children's. It was only the third such clinic created in the USA. He was the first orthopaedic surgeon appointed to the Meningomyelocele Clinic, which was created at Children's Hospital during 1964. From 1970 to 1978, he served as the team physician for the U.C. basketball program. He currently serves as an Associate Medical Director for 3-HAB, the only workers' comp MCO in Ohio to provide physician-directed case management.

His son, Dr. R. Scott Jolson joined during 1992. Father and son served as team physicians for the Cincinnati Reds for seven years (1991 to 1997). Dr. Jolson the Younger continues as a consultant to the Reds. Dr. Scott Jolson is an internationally recognized expert in shoulder surgery, and as such, has participated in more than 25 symposia to teach other orthopaedists how to perform the latest procedures.

Dr. James Willis joined Freiberg during 1970 and quickly became a highly regarded hand and upper extremity surgeon. While a member of our practice he founded, and continues to manage, the Hand Clinic at Children's Hospital. He serves as the Director of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Jewish Hospital.

His son, Dr. Craig Willis, joined our practice during February 2002.

The year 1994 saw another major addition to Freiberg. Some of the individual physicians within the practice founded what is one of the original workers' compensation managed care organizations in Ohio: 3-HAB.

During the early 1990's, some employers told our physicians that they were having difficulty getting injured employees to return to work. They believed, correctly, that the longer people are off work because of injuries, the more likely that they will never return to work. During 1994, the physicians and the employers formed a pact - the employers agreed to send injured workers for treatment of orthopaedic injuries to Freiberg physicians and the physicians agreed to inform the employers of their employees' work status after each of their office visits.

By 1996, 3-HAB had a name. During 1997, it became one of the original MCO's in Ohio. It was, and remains, a unique MCO - the only one offering physician case management of workers' compensation claims. Its success at getting people back to work is best seen by knowing that since the Bureau of Workers' Compensation began ranking MCO's on their ability to return injured workers to jobs, 3-HAB has been #1.

The progressive spirit is alive and well at Freiberg Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine!

Total Hip Replacement

Hip Arthroplasty
Knee Replacement
Hand & Wrist Treatment
Spinal Surgery
Foot & Ankle Conditions
Sports Injury Treatment
Physical Rehabilitation
Pediatric Orthopaedics
Multimedia Patient Education
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