How the US Army Forged Hand Surgery

John C. Dunn, Martha K. Lenhart, James P. Higgins*, Leon J. Nesti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


As the United States plunged into World War II, the surgeon general, Norman T. Kirk, scrambled to care for the complex hand injuries sustained in combat. To remedy this problem, Major General Kirk appointed Sterling Bunnell, a general surgeon and a World War I veteran with a keen interest in hand injuries, to serve as the consultant to the Secretary of War. Kirk and Bunnell formed 9 US military hand centers that treated 22,000 hand injuries in World War II. Bunnell and his pupils would later form the nucleus of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Through Dr. Bunnell's expertise, skillful care, dedication to teaching, and love of country, US hand surgery was born.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-357
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Fellowship training
  • hand surgery history
  • military surgery


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