(May 2010) Yale Medical Group orthopaedic surgeon Joseph Slade III, MD, director of the Orthopaedic Hand and Upper Extremity Service, passed away on Friday, May 21, after a brief illness.
During his professional career, Slade was a unique contributor to the field of hand surgery, offering patients hand surgery techniques that were simultaneously innovative and effective. He made many contributions to patient care, including the development of new and now widely accepted approaches to the treatment of hand and wrist fractures.
“Dr. Slade was extremely creative and insightful, and developed new approaches to common problems that changed the way hand surgeons practiced around the world,” says Dr. Gary Friedlaender, chief of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation for Yale Medical Group. “But most of all, he was excited to help patients overcome their difficulties.”
Slade used his expertise to salvage severely damaged limbs for patients who had been in motor vehicle crashes and industrial accidents and who might have otherwise been treated by amputation.
A professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at Yale, Slade was board-certified in both orthopaedic surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery. He pursued scholarly research and is the author of numerous scientific articles. Among his colleagues, he was known for creating a novel minimally invasive approach to treating scaphoid fractures, which have historically confounded surgeons partly because a fractured scaphoid bone is prone to potentially devastating post-traumatic arthritis of the wrist.
In addition, he developed techniques for arthroscopically assisted management of hand problems that were so popular and influential that he was invited to speak internationally, spending 20 to 30 weekends a year as a guest lecturer at university medical centers in Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
“As an individual, it is no secret that Joe was larger than life,” says Yale Medical Group orthopaedic surgeon Seth Dodds, MD. “By nature, he was both incredibly generous and unfailingly loyal. His bright, creative mind was available to all, day and night, and he welcomed any opportunity to help a friend. He loved to travel and build new relationships, and by drawing energy from those experiences, Joe brought a confidence, commitment, and enthusiasm in his work that has left its mark on all of those around him.
Slade was born Jan. 4, 1953, in Washington, D.C. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Columbia University and his medical degree at University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He pursued his orthopaedic surgery residency at Duke University and University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, where he also completed a fellowship in hand and reconstructive surgery. He then served his country in the U.S. Air Force during Desert Storm.
He was survived by two sons, two sisters, a daughter-in-law and a fiancée. He was the soon-to-be grandfather of Charlotte Rose Slade.
Information for patients: Yale Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation is calling currently scheduled patients of the late Dr. Slade to schedule follow-up appointments with orthopaedic hand surgeons Seth D. Dodds, MD, or Carrie R. Swigart, MD. For questions, please call the office at 203-737-5656.