Acclaimed program celebrates 25 years of care

Over 680,000 patient visits, over 90,000 surgeries and 350 fingers reattached - Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre celebrates a quarter of a century of care.

The bedrock of any clinical program is dedication and ambition. The Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC) has been advancing care for patients with upper limb injuries and disorders in Southwestern Ontario - and around the world for 25 years.

Dr. Graham King speaks at 25 year celebration for Hand and Upper Limb Centre

Dr. Graham King, Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC) Medical Director and St. Joseph’s Hospital Site Chief of Surgery at HULC’s 25th Anniversary Event. Pictured in background are the founders of the program, late doctors Robert McFarlane and James Roth.

Founded at St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1992 by doctors James Roth and Robert McFarlane, HULC has grown to become the largest upper limb centre in Canada.  HULC is now recognized as a world-renowned centre of excellence in education, research, and the diagnosis, care, and treatment of patients with complex conditions affecting hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders.

In partnership with Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute, HULC’s accomplishments in the past 25 years have been ground-breaking, influencing patient care locally, regionally, nationally and around the world.

“One of HULC’s biggest achievements includes the design and implementation of new joint replacements for the shoulder, elbow and wrist. These replacements were designed by HULC surgeons and are used globally,” says Dr. Graham King, HULC Medical Director and St. Joseph’s Hospital Site Chief of Surgery.

Other developments include patient assessment tools to evaluate treatment outcomes for upper limb conditions that are used worldwide; an award winning rapid detection system for prosthetic joint infections; and the development of new techniques to improve upper limb function for patients with spinal cord injuries through our Peripheral Nerve Clinic, states Dr. King.

“It’s clear that this pivotal program has made a significant impact for those living with upper extremity injuries and disorders,” says Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care London. “We watched this burgeoning program grow over the last 25 years to the superb service it is today. We are very grateful to have this program as part of the expert care St. Joseph’s can offer patients.”

In early June HULC celebrated their anniversary by inviting HULC trained fellows of the past 25 years to join them in a day of education where they challenged each other’s expertise during several case studies. “It was inspiring to watch,” says Michelle Mahood, Director Ambulatory Surgery. “Fellows returned from all corners of Canada and as far as Australia, Switzerland and Israel; all focused on sharing knowledge focused on advancing care. It was evident how deeply grateful they were for their training here.”

“Research, and innovation have always been a trademark of this program,” says Dr. King. We inspire each other and collaborate for the future. It’s a partnership that spans time and distance as we connect on thoughtful approaches to care for the improvement of patient outcomes.”

At the event, Dr. Kernaghan thanked HULC physicians, therapists, nurses, and clinical and support staff for their contributions to world-class upper limb care. “You are all an inspiration. We are so fortunate to have you as part of the St. Joseph’s family. St. Joseph’s will continue to support this multi-disciplinary program as it advances and evolves - constantly getting better and stronger. What an incredible 25 year history and an incredible 25 year journey!”

25 years - by the numbers:

  • Over $26 million dollars in research funding
  • Over 850 articles published in medical journals
  • Over 680,000 patient visits
  • Over 200,000 therapy visits
  • Over 300 medical professionals trained (orthopedic and plastic surgeons, emergency room and other physicians, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists)
  • Over 90,000 surgeries
  • 350 fingers reattached
  • Seven arms reattached

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