Celebrating the birthdays of two AO founders
This week, the AO celebrates the birthdays of AO founders Walter Stähli and Willy Hunziker.
Stähli (October 20, 1911–February 10, 2009) studied medicine in Bern and Lausanne, Switzerland. He passed the state exams in 1936 and obtained his doctorate in 1940. From 1945 until 1981, he was chief surgeon at the District Hospital Saint-Imier, in the French-speaking part of Canton Bern. He was one of the three Walters introduced by Robert Schneider to fellow AO founders Maurice Müller who familiarized them with the technique of osteosynthesis.
As chief surgeon, Stähli could invite Müller to his hospital to operate as a guest surgeon. In his book The AO Phenomenen, Urs Heim describes Stähli as "a good example of the quiet manner of the Bernese, interspersed and lightened by a great sense of humor." An example of Stähli's sense of humor is that he noted that the quality of the AO Instrumentarium he received for testing purposes was of very good quality and that the Village locksmith only had to be called to the hospital once—when Stähli could not remove an intramedullary nail.
Hunziker (October 23, 1915–July 28, 1987) studied medicine in Geneva and Basel, Switzerland, taking his state exams in 1942. He worked in the surgical department at the District Hospital Aarau. Later, he was senior physician at the District Hospital Langenthal where he worked under AO founder Ernst Baumann. From 1948 to 1977, Hunziker was chief surgeon at the District Hospital Belp, just outside of Bern. AO founder Martin Allgöwer and Hunziker had been friends since studying medicine together in Geneva and Allgöwer introduced Hunziker to the AO group, but he kept a rather low profile within the group.