Dr. Richard Rothman, respected orthopedic surgeon and business leader, passes away


Philadelphia-based Rothman Orthopaedic Institute founder and legendary orthopedic surgeon Richard Rothman, MD, passed away over the weekend, according to The Inquirer.

Dr. Rothman founded Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in 1970 with a donation from one of his early patients, media mogul Walter Anneberg, and built it into a 29-location business with offices stretching across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and into New York. In May 2017, Becker's Spine Review conducted a Q&A with Dr. Rothman in which he said Rothman Institute grew 15 to 20 percent annually for 45 years.

"My vision of the future is to develop a national footprint over the next five years," he said in the article. "A national franchise by merging with other practices and partnering with health systems we respect."

He also shared 11 principles for success in the article. "The key concepts are pretty simple," he said. He always believed a private corporate structure was the most productive for physician practices. Physician ownership has been a core aspect of the practice's culture. "The No. 1 way to retain employees and make them happy is allowing them to control their destiny; that's the strongest single motivator of any business person or employee. By being physician-owned, physicians feel they are in control of their destiny."

During his career, Dr. Rothman was also instrumental in the design of artificial hip implants and performed more than 50,000 joint replacements during his career.

At the time of his death, Dr. Rothman was a partner in Rothman Institute and remained involved in operations. He also served as an advisor to private equity firm Riverside Co., and vice chair of the board of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Dr. Rothman had cancer and passed away at Center City, Pa.-based Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience.

As a testament to Dr. Rothman's career and influence, orthopedic surgeons and organizations have been leaving messages for him on Twitter.

"Our hearts are heavy this morning as we mourn the loss of our founder, Dr. Richard H. Rothman. We remember him as a pioneering surgeon, and incredible leader, but most importantly, a great man. He will be missed by many!" tweeted the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute account.

"We are saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Richard H. Rothman. He will be truly missed. Our thoughts and payers are with the entire Rothman family," posted the Chicago-based Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush account.

"True giant in orthopedics left forever. It's a very sad day for our families. Dr. Richard Rothman will be missed," tweeted Carlos Higuera, MD.

"A true pioneer and legend in orthopedic surgery has passed away. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Richard H. Rothman, MD, PhD," posted Philadelphia-based Penn Surgery.

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