Dr. Dean Lorich Received : Roger E. Joseph Prize : for Humanitarian Medical Rescue Work

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rabbi David Ellenson awarded the 2010 Roger E. Joseph Prize to Dr. Dean Lorich for his humanitarian medical rescue work with victims of the earthquake in Haiti and with severely wounded soldiers medivaced from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ceremony took place during Ordination and Investiture Services at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on Sunday, May 2, 2010, at 9 am, when 22 new rabbis were ordained and 9 new cantors were invested. The Roger E. Joseph Prize recognizes individuals making lasting contributions to the causes of human rights and Jewish survival and sustaining values and ideals of Judaism.

Upon his arrival at the Community Hospital in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-Ville, Dr. Lorich and his team of trauma surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists from the Hospital for Special Surgery encountered thousands of severely injured Haitians on stretchers, boards, mattresses, and the floor, among them tiny children with crushed legs, all alone.  The hospital had only two functioning operating rooms, the anesthesia machine did not work, the oxygen tanks were empty, there was no blood supply, and the labs were not functioning.

Laboring under extremely rudimentary conditions with limited security, they relied on vodka for sterilization, substituted local numbing for general anesthesia, rigged tourniquets from rubber gloves, and performed surgery in improvised operating rooms, including mass amputations, limb-saving operations, and one Caesarean section delivering a healthy baby.  They practiced what Dr. Lorich described as “Civil War medicine,” saving lives by the thousands.

Three years ago, Dr. Lorich journeyed to Landstuh Regional Medical Center, and the largest American hospital outside of the United States, which is located nearby the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.  Working non-stop for two-and-a-half weeks, he tended American soldiers wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan who had been medivaced from the battlefields for treatment.  During his stint there, Dr. Lorich  encountered devastating injuries that are not to be seen in the civilian world. 

Rabbi Ellenson noted, “Dr. Lorich has applied the essence of the moral code of the physician, attributed to the great Jewish doctor, ethicist, and philosopher, Maimonides.  He has seen in the sufferer a fellow human being and, imbued with God-given strength and learning, he has brought compassion and healing.”

Dr. Dean G. Lorich is the Associate Director of the Orthopaedic Trauma Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery and New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York. In addition, he is an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and member of the teaching faculty of the AO/ASIF.  Dr. Lorich completed his residency at The University Hospital of Pennsylvania in 1995, followed by a fellowship in Orthopaedic Trauma at Hospital for Special Surgery in 1996. He was selected for the prestigious Martin Allgower Traveling Trauma Fellow in Bern, Switzerland under Rheinhold Ganz, M.D., and Christian Krettek, M.D., in Hanover, Germany. He continues to be actively involved in Orthopaedic research while lecturing nationally and internationally.  Dr. Lorich was recruited to the Hospital for Special Surgery from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, where he was Chief of Orthopaedic Trauma and Director of Orthopaedics for five years. Dr. Lorich has published and lectured in depth on Orthopaedic Trauma, with an emphasis on intra-articular fractures, orthopaedic care of the polytrauma patient, and orthopaedic care of geriatric fractures particularly of the hip and wrist.

For a report by Dr. Lorich on his medical rescue work in Haiti and on behalf of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan, please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEa0SYr5gcQ

About the Joseph Prize and Previous Recipients

The Roger E. Joseph Prize was established thirty years ago by a generous gift from Burton M. Joseph and his sister, Mrs. Betty Greenberg, in memory of their brother, a lawyer, World War II hero, and polio victim.  Although almost completely paralyzed, he resumed his law practice and advanced causes of social justice, inspired by his own exceptional personal courage and passionate devotion to principle and justice.

The first Joseph Prize was awarded in 1978, to Victor Kugler, who risked his and his loved ones’ lives to shelter Anne Frank and her family. Over the past thirty years, the Joseph Prize recipients have included:

- the people of Le Chambon, a Huguenot village in France which rescued thousands of Jewish children during the Holocaust;

- Helen Suzman, a leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa;

- The Center for Legal and Social Studies, the most prominent human rights group in Argentina;

- Rosa Parks, the “mother” of the American civil rights movement;

- Vu Than Thuy and the Boat People SOS Committee, responsible for the rescue of thousands of Vietnamese refugees stranded in the South China Sea;

 - the First Congregational Church of Billings, Montana, and the Montana Association of Churches for their moral and spiritual conviction in combating prejudice and anti-Semitic hate crimes.

- The Center for Victims of Torture and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture

- Morris S. Dees, and the Southern Poverty Law Center;

- the Humanitarian Law Center and Natasa Kandic for their courageous research and dissemination of the documentation of genocide in Kosovo;

- Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation, to honor the memory and mission of this inspiring and courageous journalist, of blessed memory, whose integrity was grounded in a commitment to justice and a love for humanity;

- Jan Egeland, Under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, for rescue efforts in Darfurand around the globe;

-  Morris S. Dees, and the Southern Poverty Law Center;

- the Humanitarian Law Center and Natasa Kandic for their courageous research and dissemination of the documentation of genocide in Kosovo;

- Chaplain Mychal Judge, of blessed memory, and the City of New York Fire Department, for their heroic efforts to rescue and provide comfort on September 11th, 2001;

- Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation, to honor the memory and mission of this inspiring and courageous journalist, of blessed memory, whose integrity was grounded in a commitment to justice and a love for humanity;

- Jan Egeland, Under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, for rescue efforts in Darfur and around the globe;

Father Patrick Desbois for devoting his life to confronting anti-Semitism, furthering Catholic-Jewish understanding, and preserving Holocaust memory;

- And last year, Helen Lieberman, Founder and Honorary President of Ikamva Labantu – Future of Our Nation, providing social services to thousands of South Africans ravaged by apartheid.


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