On Sunday, after suffering a debilitating stroke, Dr. Ponseti has passed away at the age of 95.
Dr. Ponseti revolutionized the world of clubfeet by developing a method (now referred to as the Ponseti method worldwide) of serial casting rather then surgeries to correct clubfeet.
Matthew and I never had the pleasure of meeting this man although I did correspond with him through email. In 2003, when Matthew was 4 months old, I had concerns that his foot was not correcting properly. I decided to send an email to the legendary man himself thinking that maybe if I was lucky, one of his staff members would email back with their professional opinion. I mean really, at the time, the man was 89 years old.
I was shocked to receive an email back within an hour from his personal secretary stating that he had gone for the day but would respond to my inquiry first thing in the morning. And, yes, he got back to me the next day with his professional opinion as well as contact information of the nearest doctor (Dr Pirani in Vancouver) that could do what he would do.
The clubfoot community has suffered a great loss but at the same time is very fortunate to have so many doctors that have trained under him to continue his legacy. For not only has this great man imparted his clubfoot knowledge, but he has somehow shared his love for the children and parents as well.
What a rare person to touch and change so many lives. What a rare opportunity for us to have seen his accomplishments first hand.
He will be dearly missed.