In Memoriam

Tibor Vízkelety


It is with deep regret, that we inform the international orthopaedic society that Professzor Tibor Vízkelety the emeritus professor of the Orthopaedic Department of Semmelweis University passed away at the age of 88 on 24 August 2017. He bore his illness with patience, and passed away surrounded by his loved ones. Even though we were aware of the severity of his condition, and the frailty of his health, news of his death struck us abruptly.

Professor Vízkelety worked at the Department of Orthopaedics of Semmelweis University for over 50 years. He brought with him a vast morphological knowledge from the Institue of Anatomy. After finishing his specialization his interest turned to paediatric orthopaedics. With his unparalelled work ethic and thirst for knowledge he became Head of the Paediatric Orthopaedic Department. Paediatric orthopaedics remained the main focus of his work as a healer. According to his co-workers, his work ethic was unbelievable and he participated in the creation of many papers and dissertations. Few doctors are given the chance to make a fundamental, widespread difference in the treatment regimen and progression of a disease. Professor Vízkelety was afforded this chance: he organized hip dislocation screenings nationwide, propagated the use of the Pavlik harness, and introduced early surgical repositioning. He developed many original methods in the treatment of limb malformations, and implicated modern surgical approaches in the treatment of children suffering from neuromuscular disease. Professor Vízkelety was a university citizen through and through. He regarded teaching and scientific evaluation of his work as a vocation to be fulfilled parallel to healing. He defended his PhD in 1970 and his doctorate in 1989. He was appointed the Director of the Department of Orthopaedics of Semmelweis University in 1980 and he filled this position for 15 years. As the Secretary General, and for years later the President of the Hungarian Orthopaedic Society he organized many national and international congresses with zeal and enthusiasm. The exsistence of over 140 publications proves that he was not driven by "duress to publish", but by the need to raise current issues, and to teach. Beside the many book chapters he wrote, his book "Paediatric Orthopaedics" deserves honorable mention. The textbook "Orthopedics", which he edited was released in three editions. In 1990 his book on Skeletal tumours and tumour-like lesions filled a void in the literature.

His connections to SICOT grew stronger in 1963 at a congress in Vienna. As the Professor recalls, he gradually became a francophone beginning at a congress in 1966 in Paris. He developed a tight friendship with Robert Merle D'Aubigné and Robert Judet. Professor Vízkelety organized the International Committee Meeting in Budapest in 1974, where he hosted the directorate of SICOT. During his active years he was an emblematic member of SICOT.

His decades long directorship allowed him his personality to unfold as an establisher of a new school. Three of his close colleagues achieved a Professorship, and four became heads of department. Professor Vízkelety established respect for the field of orthopaedics/paediatric orthopaedics on both a national and international scale. Not hesitating to make financial sacrifices he put all his effort and enthusiasm toward forging international connections, and establishing respect for orthopaedics in Hungary. Thereby in the seventies and eighties he established the most important element of progress within the field, namely international learning opportunities for young colleagues.

Professor Vízkelety was the Hungarian national delegate of SICOT and worked as Head of the Committee for 3 years. His efforts were honoured by SICOT with an Honorable Membership.

Honored Professor! Our eternal Mentor! Our Teacher and Paragon! We cherish your memory, you live on in us.


Written by Miklós Szendrői, György Szőke & László Bucsi