Obituary| Volume 5, ISSUE 2, P262, June 2019

The preeminent orthopaedist who personified the Good Samaritan David S. Hungerford, MD (1938-2019)

    Open AccessPublished:May 09, 2019DOI:
        David S. Hungerford was severely burned as a child when he was loading coal in a furnace, according to his son Marc W. Hungerford, MD, quoted by Jacques Kelly in The Baltimore Sun. “He was treated by a small-town doctor who made daily visits to his home. He knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to helping others in the same way.” Dr. Hungerford fulfilled that goal with a career of clinical excellence, research, teaching, invention, and philanthropy.
        Dr. Hungerford was born in Rochester, New York and grew up in Sodus, an upstate town on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. “He was the son of Samuel Hungerford, a school principal and his wife Marjorie,” reported Kelly. Hungerford earned a BA degree from Colgate University and was a US Public Health Service postgraduate at the Institut Claude Bernard in Paris, where he studied neurophysiology. A graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, he was an orthopaedic surgeon with the Army Medical Corps in Germany from 1966 through 1969 and worked following his military service at the Nuffield Orthopedic Centre in Oxford, England, according to a Johns Hopkins Medical Institute biography. He served as Girdlestone fellow at Nuffield from 1969 to 1970 and orthopaedic registrar from 1970 to 1971.
        Dr. Hungerford completed his orthopaedic residency at Johns Hopkins in 1972, and embarked on a long and distinguished career at the renowned Baltimore medical institution. He was chief of the scoliosis clinic and chief of the division of arthritis surgery, and in 1986 he was named a full professor. Hungerford was also named chief of orthopaedic surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, a member of MedStar Health, a not-for-profit community-based network. In 2000, his patients established a professorship in orthopaedic surgery in his name at Hopkins School of Medicine and the Hopkins University trustees named him a professor emeritus in 2014.
        “He leaves a tremendous legacy at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital,” Brad Chambers, its president said in a statement reported in The Sun. “His life long desire to relieve suffering prompted him to continually seek new treatment methods and investigate innovative ways to bring healing and comfort to his patients.”
        He retired from Johns Hopkins and Good Samaritan in 2011.
        Dr. Hungerford gave selflessly to others through his philanthropy, and “completed short-term mission trips to train orthopaedic surgeons in Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, and Liberia on behalf of CURE international,” according to Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. He received the 2013 Humanitarian Award of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons for having distinguished himself through outstanding humanitarian services. He served on the board of several different nonprofit organizations that provide medical equipment and training in developing countries and helped create hospital programs in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. The Hopkins biography explained that Dr. Hungerford used royalties from his medical patents to fund the Tree of Life Foundation, which offers grants to fund capital resource projects in support of health programs in developing countries. “He provided state-of-the-art hip and knee surgeries in some of the poorest countries to the neediest patients,” the Johns Hopkins biography said.
        In addition to his pioneering work at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Hungerford was a founding member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) and served as the first Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Arthroplasty (JOA). “Dave saw a need for a hip and knee arthroplasty-focused journal when the field and the study of the field was tremendously expanding in the 1980s,” said John J. Callaghan, MD, current Editor-in-Chief of the JOA. According to, Dr. Hungerford wrote in an editorial commemorating the 10th anniversary of AAHKS, “I have seen the organization blossom into a positive force for addressing the issues facing joint replacement surgeons including new technology, declining reimbursements and rising malpractice claims and costs. The organization is representational and is positioned to define and defend the interests of both the patients undergoing joint reconstruction and the surgeons who perform them.” In 2011, he received the AAHKS Presidential Award in recognition of his service to the organization.
        Long-time partner Michael A. Mont, MD, now vice president of strategic operations and director of joint arthroplasty at Northwell Health, was quoted by Casey Tingle in, saying “[David Hungerford] was a perfectionist surgeon and clinician. [He] ingrained in me to never stop honing my skills, to get better and better all in the interest of patient care.” According to the, his colleague Richard F. Santore, MD, “remarked on the scientific contributions Dr. Hungerford made to the field including the study of core decompression to relieve pain, the development of early instruments for total knee replacement and (with Robert Kenna, a medical engineer) the invention of porous coated anatomic devices.”
        Dr. Hungerford died from complications of melanoma at his Cockeysville, MD home on March 2, 2019. He will be remembered as a groundbreaking arthroplasty surgeon, mentor, and “hands-on” philanthropist as well as a giant in arthroplasty, education, innovation, and research.