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In Memoriam: William G. Hamilton, MD

by AOFAS | Apr 04, 2022

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of AOFAS Past President William G. Hamilton, MD, at the age of 90. Dr. Hamilton was a highly respected member of the orthopaedic community, well-known for his exceptional teaching, clinical expertise, and witty "Hamiltonisms."

William Hamilton, MDDr. Hamilton earned his medical degree at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his orthopaedic residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. In 1972, he received a life-changing offer from George Balanchine, co-founder of the New York City Ballet, to provide care for the company's 100+ dancers. Dr. Hamilton became known for his expertise in treating dance injuries, particularly in the foot and ankle, and took on roles as the orthopaedic surgeon for the American Ballet Theatre, the School of American Ballet, and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet. He also served as an orthopaedic consultant for the New York Knicks and New York Yankees.

In 1991, Dr. Hamilton and Francesca Thompson, MD, established the orthopaedic foot and ankle fellowship program at Roosevelt Hospital in New York, which eventually transitioned to the Hospital for Special Surgery. He taught in the program for nearly 25 years and mentored more than 50 fellows.

A leader in the specialty, Dr. Hamilton served as AOFAS President from 1992-93. He spoke at many AOFAS meetings and notably presented a "PED Talk" on Foot and Ankle Injuries in Ballet Dancers at AOFAS Annual Meeting 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

In 2018, Dr. Hamilton was selected as one of the inaugural Pillars of the AOFAS by the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation in recognition of his leadership and dedication to educating foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons. Although he was unable to attend the award ceremony in person, he accepted the award via video with his signature sincerity and humor.

Dr. Hamilton will be missed greatly by his colleagues, patients, former fellows, and all who crossed his path.