Dr. Jacquelin Perry: The Standard for Clinical Excellence

Considered the world's most accomplished physician in Rehabilitation Medicine and the study of human gait analysis, Jacquelin Perry, MD of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center has been honored throughout her illustrious career with many awards and recognitions for her distinguished contributions to patients and the fields of Orthopaedic Surgery and Pathokinesiology.Dr. Perry, who will celebrate her 92nd birthday on Monday, is Emeritus Chief of the Polio and Gait Clinic and Pathokinesiology Program at Rancho. She is credited with many clinical breakthroughs that have been adopted by doctors around the world, from refining the halo device that helps stabilize the spine for patients with broken necks to many new surgical techniques to improve patients' lives. Through the years, her passion for improving the function of her patients has never wavered. "She doesn't just set the standard, she is the standard," said Rancho Chief of Rehabilitation Therapies Lilli Thompson. "Dr. Perry continues to contribute, continues to push our clinicians to practice at a very high level," said Rancho Chief Executive Officer Jorge Orozco. "She is a remarkable physician who has contributed more than any other person to the practice of Rehabilitation Medicine, not just in America, but throughout the world," said renowned retired Rancho physician John Hsu, MD. After earning her Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, she joined the army and trained to be a physical therapist. She served in the army as a physical therapist prior to attending medical school. She earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from UC San Francisco and completed residencies in orthopaedic surgery at UC San Francisco and general surgery at the Children's Hospital in San Francisco. She joined the medical staff at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in 1955, where as one of only a handful of women orthopaedic surgeons in the world, she found an environment that suited her interest in human function and allowed her to innovate and flourish. "Rancho was made for me," Dr. Perry said. "Our patients had such a wide variety of disabilities that it was the right environment to spark my curiosity. Then, as now, Rancho's clinicians were concerned with only one thing-to provide the finest care in the world for our patients." Dr. Perry is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. She has contributed more than 200 peer-reviewed archival publications. She authored what most consider the classic textbook on gait and instructional course lectures for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The Second Edition of this seminal work was published earlier this year. Her passion for perfection in the care of Rancho's patients continues to be a shining example to clinicians throughout the world. For example, the journal Physical Therapy dedicated its entire February 2010 issue to Dr. Perry's work and the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation honored Dr. Perry with the inaugural Amistad Rancho Legend Award at the 24th Annual Amistad Gala on May 1. In addition, Rancho's main inpatient care facility was named the "Jacquelin Perry Institute" in her honor. She is acknowledged as the world leader in the treatment of Post-Polio syndrome and plays a key role in Rancho's Post-Polio Clinic. Dr. Perry will be making rounds once again in Rancho's spinal cord injury service, sharing her wisdom and insight with her fellow Rancho clinicians. Dr. Perry is continuing her legacy of creativity and innovation by helping train a new generation of clinical leaders who will create their own breakthroughs, becoming tomorrow's innovators and continuously improving the care for Rancho's patients. "Dr. Perry is going to help us to make sure that while patients transition from inpatient to outpatient and into the community our patient care is as good as it can be, as comfortable as it can be, and as healthful as it can be," said Dr. Aisen. But perhaps the best measure of Dr. Perry's work is the success of her patients. For example, Ernest Baca, Richard Daggett and Emma Eivers, PhD have been patients of Dr. Perry for more than half a century. She performed groundbreaking spinal fusion surgery on each in the 1950s that enabled each of them to walk after suffering severe scoliosis from polio. "When you look in Webster's dictionary under the word "doctor" there should be a picture of Dr. Perry there, because that's how awesome she is," Baca said. He owns his own locksmith shop, which has been a fixture in the Montebello community for many years. Richard Daggett came to Rancho as a young teenage patient in1955. "Her surgical interventions were the greatest things that ever happened to me," he said. "Over the years, we've become friends, and I'm honored by that." Today Daggett is the president of both the Polio Survivors Association and The Amigos Fund and lives in Downey. "It's not an exaggeration to say that I owe my life to Dr. Perry." Emma Eivers, PhD would have likely died from her severe polio had she not come to Rancho in the mid-1950s. "Because of the spinal fusion surgery Dr. Perry did for me, I have been able to walk and wear regular clothes all these years," Emma said. She was able to go back to school, getting her high school diploma, B.A. and Master's degrees. Then she studied in France for a year, returned to the U.S. and earned her PhD from USC. "I fell in love, got married and had a family," she said. "Because of the gifts of life and mobility Dr. Perry gave me, I have been able to achieve all my dreams. I thank Dr. Perry not only for saving my life, but for making it worthwhile."

********** Published: May 28, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 6