World-renowned hand surgeon Harold Kleinert dead at 91
Dr. Harold Kleinert, an internationally renowned hand surgeon and founder of the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, died Saturday at 91.
Kleinert, who began his practice in hand surgery in Louisville in 1953, also was clinical professor of surgery emeritus at the University of Louisville and Indiana University-Purdue University.
Funeral arrangements were pending Sunday. His family released a statement confirming his death and said members would comment publicly today.
Dr. Joseph Kutz, who joined the clinic in 1963, could not be reached for comment Sunday. On the Kleinert Kutz website, Kutz wrote about the history of the practice.
“We all know that Dr. Kleinert began his practice in Louisville over a beer at a hotel in Chicago,” Kutz writes. “Over the years since 1963, many changes have occurred. Many advancements in hand surgery have taken place, some of which this practice had a little to do with. To think that this practice started from two men and a handshake is a wonder and a blessing to me.”
University of Louisville President James Ramsey said in a statement Sunday night that Kleinert “was a pioneer in his field who shared his knowledge with hundreds of surgeons and University of Louisville medical students. His legacy lives on through their work improving the lives of others. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
And Mayor Greg Fischer said Kleinert “was known internationally for his breakthrough work in the science and care of hands. He also practiced with his heart. Humanity will benefit for decades to come because of his innovations in medicine.”
Kleinert helped establish the Christine M. Kleinert Fellowship in Hand Surgery in 1960 for those residents desiring postgraduate training and, to date, more than 1,200 surgeons from 51 countries have trained as fellows in the program.
In a Courier-Journal column that ran April 16, 1994, Kleinert and Kutz talked to retired columnist Bob Hill. The two discussed their friendship, business relationship and efforts to help thousands of patients.
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