A History of Orthopedic Surgery at Saint Francis Hospital

A History of Orthopedic Surgery at Saint Francis Hospital by Harry E. Livingston, M.D. July, 2006

In 1960, when Saint Francis Hospital first opened, the orthopedic surgeons came mostly on a part time basis from other hospitals, chiefly St. John Hospital. Among the most active at Saint Francis Hospital were Dr. John McDonald (the second orthopedic surgeon in Tulsa who began practice in 1928) and his longstanding partner, Dr. John Dague. Also, Dr. James White of the Springer Clinic was very active at SFH. Gradually Dr. McDonald and Dr. White concentrated their practices almost exclusively at SFH.

In 1965, Dr. Harry Livingston came to Tulsa to join Drs. McDonald and Dague and also practiced most at SFH. After one year he went into solo practice and gradually over the next few years devoted almost his entire practice at SFH. In 1966 Dr. James Mayoza joined Drs. McDonald and Dague and in 1967 they were joined by Dr. James Winslow.

In 1968, the Warren Professional Building adjacent to SFH opened. The first tenant was Dr. James White (who had left the Springer Clinic in 1961 for solo practice) and his new partners Dr. John Smith (hand surgeon) who had come in 1966 and Dr. James Winslow who switched his practice to be with Dr. White in 1969. Thus, in this group of Drs. White, Smith and Winslow was born the group named Eastern Oklahoma Orthopedic Center. These doctors were concentrating their efforts to developing an orthopedic sports medicine oriented practice. They were then joined in 1970 by Dr. George Mauerman (a college football player from Vanderbilt) who carried the sports medicine ball for EOOC for way over 30 years at the University of Tulsa. Dr. Winslow, who had played basketball at the University of Mississippi, concentrated his efforts more at Oral Roberts University and their basketball program. Dr. Bruce Stivers joined EOOC in 1972; Dr. Mark Capehart (fellowship trained in children’s orthopedics) in 1976; Dr. Alan Lewis (fellowship trained in foot surgery) in 1984. Dr. Peter Beck, who had been in academia in St. Louis, Missouri, joined EOOC in 1974. Dr. Beck left in 1993 to go to work in the government hospital in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Ted Peters (fellowship trained in hand surgery) also was at EOOC from 1985 until 1993, when he left for Fort Worth, Texas to join his brother in practice.

Meanwhile Dr. Rodney Plaster, who practiced at the Springer Clinic from 1986 to 1989 and left for a joint replacement fellowship, joined EOOC in 1992. Other sports fellowship trained orthopedists joining EOOC were Dr. Bradley Boone in 1991, Dr. Scott Rahhal in 1995, and Dr. Jay Lorton in 2001. Dr. James Bischoff, a fellowship trained hand surgeon transferred his practice from St. John Hospital to join EOOC at Saint Francis Hospital in 1996. Dr. Christopher Browne, fellowship trained in joint replacements, joined EOOC in 2001. In 1990 EOOC began a Sports Medicine Fellowship training program, which trains 2 fellows and soon to be 3 fellows a year.

Dr. James Winslow left EOOC in 1976 to become the Dean of the Oral Roberts University Medical School, which he had organized at the personal request of Oral Roberts. Dr. James White, the founder of EOOC, retired in 1991, Dr. John Smith in 1993 and Dr. Bruce Stivers retired in 1999.

Meanwhile Dr. Harry Livingston, who was the second orthopedic tenant in the Warren Professional Building starting in 1968, was joined in practice in 1972 by Dr. James Donald Keenan to start Orthopedic Specialists of Tulsa. They were joined in 1973 by Dr. Eugene Feild, who had been in practice since 1969 at Springer Clinic. The following year they were joined by Dr. David Bell, a fellowship trained hand surgeon. About 1977, they were joined at OST by Dr. Donald Baldwin, who had been at the Springer Clinic for several years. Dr. Baldwin left OST several years later to obtain an MBA from Northwestern University. In 1983, Dr. David Hicks, a fellowship trained spine surgeon, joined OST. Dr. Mark Hayes, fellowship trained in spine surgery, also joined OST in 1991. In 1992, Dr. Randall Hendricks, also a fellowship trained spine surgeon, left the Springer Clinic to join OST. In 1992, Dr. David Nonweiler, fellowship trained in sports medicine, joined OST. In 1993, Dr. David Wong, fellowship trained in hand surgery, joined OST. In 1995, Dr. Tom Craven, fellowship trained in spine surgery, also joined OST. In January 1996, Orthopedic Specialists of Tulsa merged with Central States Orthopedic Center (see below) to form Central States Orthopedic Specialists (CSOS).

Unfortunately in 1993 Dr. David Bell met an untimely and tragic death. Dr. Don Keenan retired in December 1999 and Dr. Harry Livingston retired from full time practice in December 2000.

Dr. James Mayoza, who had spent his first two years with Dr. McDonald and Dr. Dague at the Orthopedic clinic from 1966 to 1968 began solo practice, concentrating at Saint Francis Hospital in 1968. In 1973 he was joined in practice by Dr. Henry Modrak to form the Tulsa Orthopedic Associates. Dr. Modrak had been previously at the Springer Clinic starting in 1965 prior to joining Dr. Mayoza.

In 1974, Dr. Clio Robertson joined Tulsa Orthopedic Associates. They were joined a little bit later by Dr. Michael Tanner and by Dr. Donnie Hawkins in 1980. In the late 1980’s Drs. Robertson, Tanner, Donnie Hawkins and Modrak left Tulsa Orthopedics Associates to form a new corporation called Central States Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Dr. Mayoza continued to practice as Tulsa Orthopedic Associates. Soon after the breakup they were joined in 1989 by Dr. James Cash (sports fellowship trained), in 1993 by Dr. Bryan Hawkins (fellowship trained in foot surgery), and in 1994 by Dr. Perry Inhofe (fellowship trained in hand surgery).

When the age of HMO’s, PPO’s and other insurance payment plans came to Tulsa there were a rash of mergers and formations of giant groups. In 1995, Orthopedic Specialists of Tulsa and Central States Orthopedics merged their practices to form Central States Orthopedic Specialists, Inc. Soon after, Dr. Eugene Feild left the giant CSOS group to go into solo practice. CSOS continued to grow however, in spite of the retirement in 1999 by Dr. Keenan and in 2000 by Dr. Livingston.

CSOS doctors were joined in 2000 by Dr. Ronald LaButti (fellowship trained in joint replacement surgery), and soon after by Dr. Jeff Morris, both of whom are Osteopathic doctors. Dr. Morris was in charge of the Orthopedic Residency program at the Tulsa Regional Hospital. CSOS also added Dr. Stephen Ackerley (fellowship trained in hand surgery) in 2001 and Dr. Jeff Fox (fellowship trained in sports medicine) in 2002. CSOS also branched out to form a Stillwater Oklahoma office by adding Dr. Tom Wuller in 1999 and then in 2004 Dr. Wuller added Dr. Bret Jameson and Dr. Scott Stubbs at the CSOS office in Stillwater.

In 2005 CSOS also added a physical medicine specialist, Dr. Kathleen Sisler. Dr. Sisler is the daughter of Dr. Jerry Sisler, a St. John Orthopedist and the granddaughter of Dr. Wade Sisler, the first Tulsa Orthopedist.

The Warren Clinic also started an orthopedic department in the late 1990’s after several original orthopedists came and went the first few years. The Warren Clinic Orthopedic department added Dr. Bruce Markland, in 2003, Dr. Kenneth Chekofsky in 2001, Dr. Michael Brown in 2004 and Dr. Christian Luessenhop in 2005.

The specialty of physical medicine has also grown at Saint Francis Hospital with the addition of Dr. Alexander Raptou in 1972. Other physiatrists practicing at Saint Francis Hospital are Dr. Perri Craven in 1995, Dr. Jodi Yelverton in 1996, Dr. Jeffrey Halford in 2002 and Dr. Andrew Briggeman in 2003. Physical medicine at Saint Francis Health System was enhanced first at the rehabilitation center at Broken Arrow Medical Center, which was owned by Saint Francis. Later, a branch of the Broken Arrow Rehabilitation Center was established in the hospital at Saint Francis Hospital itself under the guidance of Dr. Perri Craven.

Over the years Saint Francis hospital orthopedics has progressed with giant strides, with very well trained and professional doctors on the orthopedic staff guiding the progress. In 1965, for instance the Saint Francis Hospital emergency room closed its doors at 11:00 o’clock at night. At the emergency room entrance there was a doorbell with a sign stating “If you have an emergency after 11 o’clock please ring the doorbell and a nursing supervisor will come to assist you”. At the time of this writing Saint Francis hospital has two active helicopters and the most active emergency room in the state.

Saint Francis Hospital orthopedists have been pioneers in the giant strides of orthopedics. Dr. James White did the first knee arthroscopy in Tulsa in 1975 and also the first knee replacement a few years later. Dr. Peter Beck did the first all metal total hip replacement (designed by Dr. Ring). Dr. Eugene Feild did the first cemented total hip replacement at SFH in 1971; Dr. Norman Dunitz did the first cemented total hip replacement in Tulsa at St. John Hospital.

Reimplantation of digits and upper extremities was pioneered by the late Dr. David Bell, though the very first arm reimplantation in Tulsa was done at St. John Hospital in Tulsa by a surgical team headed by Dr. Jack Richardson. A bone bank at Saint Francis Hospital was established in 1976 under the guidance of Dr. Harry Livingston, the orthopedic chair in 1976. Politically, orthopedics was a subdivision of the surgery department, until Dr. James White spearheaded the drive to advance orthopedics to a departmental status.

Over the years Tulsa has been very fortunate to have the excellent facilities being provided at Saint Francis Hospital by the Warren family. Their generosity has allowed Saint Francis Hospital to provide a superb operating room facility, excellent equipment, excellent nursing and ancillary services of physical therapy and social services, etc. The Saint Francis Hospital environment has allowed the orthopedic staff to make these giant strides in treatment and will no doubt continue in the future.

Follow us on Facebook