Learn more about World Renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Eugene Jewett.
DR. EUGENE L. JEWETT, an orthopedic surgeon who used his skills to give new lives to handicapped people around the world.
Founder of the Jewett Orthopedic Clinic, he also gained wide renown for the help he gave South American surgeons who wanted advanced training in the United States but could not afford it.
Jewett was born in Fredonia, N.Y. He obtained a chemical engineering degree from Cornell in 1918 and a medical degree from Harvard in 1929 then moved to Orlando in 1936.
A member of 12 local, state, national and international medical associations, he was affiliated with 12 Central Florida hospitals during his career.
Jewett became a champion of the handicapped in the late 1930s and served for 11 years as local chairman of the National Employ the Handicapped Committee.
He went on to help educate South American physicians through the Jewett Foundation that he and his physician wife, Ruth, established in 1954. Ruth Schwarz Jewett died in 1982.
”We found there were quite a number of very fine young orthopedic surgeons who wanted more training in the United States but couldn’t obtain any fellowships from the big foundations,” he once said in an interview.
His most significant contributions to medicine were his development of the Jewett Orthopedic Hip Nail and the Jewett Hypertensive Back Brace, two prostheses that revolutionized fracture treatment in the 1930s and 1940s. The devices replaced the heavy casts and prolonged bed rest that were standard treatment at the time. Because patients were able to get up sooner they suffered fewer complications such as pneumonia caused by prolonged inactivity. Jewett didn’t start out to be a doctor. After a year as a chemist, he found himself uninspired.
”For one year I had been watching the clock on the wall,” he said. ”I said if I’m going to get into anything where I’m watching the clock, I’m in the wrong business.”
He decided on medicine, and his whole family pitched in to help with the expenses of medical school.
Jewett began his practice in New York but soon was in Orlando to seek remedies for his own maladies.
”I had begun having terrific sinus attacks with streptococcus throat,” he said. ”That was before the days of sulfa and antihistamines. I had also developed arthritis in my hands, and I was having trouble operating. I decided to give it up.
”I came down here, liked the warm, moist climate. I had a chance to sail a lot and play tennis, and after a year I got over this thing and continued with my practice.”
After he opened his Orlando office in 1936 Jewett routinely loaded his portable X-ray machine, his special fracture frame and his nurse into his car and set off to care for crippled and injured children all over the state. He believed the children recovered better in familiar settings.
During World War II he served aboard the USS Samaritan as chief of orthopedics and chief of surgery.
Dr. Jewett’s spirit for innovation, excellence, community involvement and service to those in need all around the world serves as a guiding light for the future.
This year Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic celebrates 81 years of innovation and service to our Central Florida community. Jewett Orthopedic Clinic is recognized worldwide as a leader in high quality personalized orthopaedic care — a true destination medical practice, treating more than 200,000 patients every year.
Watch a video about Dr. Jewett: