Dr. Richard Rothman hangs up the scalpel — Retires to pursue entrepreneurial interests

Philadelphia-based Rothman Institute Founder Richard Rothman, MD, 81, performed his last surgery May 16, putting a 50-year surgical career to rest, Philly.com reports.

Here's what you should know.

1. On his last day of surgery, Dr. Rothman performed five knee replacements. In his 50 years in the operating room, he performed approximately 50,000 knee and hip replacements.

2. After the last one, Dr. Rothman threw out the shoes he operated in and shut the door on his OR office for the last time, but opted to keep his blue scrubs, telling Philly.com, "That's my lounging outfit."

3. The celebrated orthopedic surgeon will still be an active part of his practice. Dr. Rothman plans on working 60 hours a week, seeing patients both pre-and postsurgery, consulting with colleagues, teaching and pursuing business-related interests.

4. He's leaving the surgery portion of his career behind to become a self-appointed "healthcare entrepreneur."

5. Dr. Rothman didn't have a specific answer as to why he was hanging up the scalpel now. He still views every surgery as an opportunity to change peoples' lives, and his technique was in tip-top shape, according to several peers. He decided, instead, at his wife's urging to step away.

He made a comparison to an aging boxer. While he could've kept going, he wanted to walk away, while still at his peak.

6. Rothman Institute President Alexander Vaccaro, MD, PhD, shared the OR office with Dr. Rothman. When Dr. Rothman handed Dr. Vaccaro his key to the office, he called it a sad moment. The two frequently discussed all facets of life together, and upon receiving the key, Dr. Vaccaro said, "You feel like you've lost part of your soul."

7. Despite the retirement, Dr. Vaccaro expects Dr. Rothman will still be an essential part of the practice.

8. As for how Dr. Rothman's feeling as he starts the next chapter of his life with a mounting workload looming, he relishes the challenge saying, "If I have my choice, I'd like to work in the morning and die in the afternoon."

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