DEVELOPMENT OF ORTHOPAEDICS IN SLOVENIA AND THE HISTORY OF THE ORTHOPAEDIC DEPARTMENT OF THE LJUBLJANA UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL On the occasion of the WHO “bone and joint decade” (2000-2010)
In Slovenia, orthopaedics started to develop at the end of WWI, when the number of the handicapped increased. Dr Anton Brecelj, who in 1919 laid the groundwork for the welfare of handicapped and sent a Czech doctor Franc Minař to specialise in orthopaedic surgery. When Minař returned to Ljubljana in 1923, he established an orthopaedic unit within surgery and in 1937 took over its management. Orthopaedics developed very quickly after 1945, when Ljubljana University set up a School of Medicine, a Department of Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine within the School, and Orthopaedic Clinic of the University Hospital. Orthopaedic surgeons from Ljubljana participated in the establishment of a hospital for osteoarticular tuberculosis in Valdoltra, (which later became the largest orthopaedic hospital in Slovenia), specialised clinics and orthopaedic hospital departments throughout Slovenia, schools for physiotherapists in Ljubljana, the Slovenian Rehabilitation Institute – Soča, the Home for Disabled Children in Kamnik, and the spa and rehabilitation centre in Laško. In 2011, orthopaedics in Slovenia holds 600 hospital beds and has about 75 orthopaedic surgeons who annually treat around 50,000 patients.
Key words: History of medicine, 20th century, orthopaedics, rehabilitation medicine, orthopaedic clinic, Franc Minař, Bogdan Brecel, Slovenia, Ljubljana