Dr. Robert D. Schrock was born in 1884 in Delaware, Ohio . His father, William A., was a physician, as was his son, Robert D., Jr. The family subsequently moved to Decatur, Indiana. Dr. Robert Schrock obtained his undergraduate work at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1908  and his medical degree at Cornell University Medical School in 1912 . He completed postgraduate work at the New York Hospital in New York City. He briefly practiced in Omaha with Dr. John Lord, then served as a surgeon in WW I, working under Lt. Col. Joel Goldthwait in France. After the war he returned to Omaha to again practice with Lord. In 1921 he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Nebraska School of Medicine and became Professor and Chair in 1932, a post he held until 1949, when he became Professor Emeritus.
Dr. Schrock became active in many medical organizations and in 1928 was elected President of the Clinical Orthopaedic Society, one of the two major groups that founded the AAOS, and was also active in the other, the American Orthopaedic Association. He was, as a result, involved in the early foundations of the AAOS, and became its President in 1940. He served as a civilian consultant to the Secretary of War from 1943 to 1945. With great prescience he commented in his Presidential Address to the AAOS in 1941 about Board certification, “This is not a hallmark of excellence in perpetuity. Products are frequently certified for a definite period of time if maintained under certain optimum conditions. Some people, like products, improve with advancing years, others deteriorate and some in cold storage remain frigidly good but no better. Orthopaedic surgeons, like human beings, are influenced by environment, necessity, ambition, health and avocational interest in other pursuits of happiness…If the measure of continued merit is to be maintained through our oncoming years, there need be an awareness of change, open mindedness to new concepts, elasticity in viewpoint, with a ready reception and stimulating encouragement to the newer generation whose future is in the making” .
The article we reprint describes a seemingly radical approach to a difficult problem: congenital elevation of the scapula (Sprengel’s deformity) . Shrock noted the few previous attempts to address this problem were “…rather indefinite and in too many the results seemed discouraging. Most of the reports indicated considerable conservatism in the operative attack” . He advocated “a far more radical procedure, but based upon the suggestions obtained from previous reports” . As in earlier reports, he recommended sectioning the chondroosseous scapulothoracic bridge, but he then described a radical subperiosteal dissection of the scapula leaving the rhomboids, serratus magnus, and subscapularis muscles with the periosteal sleeve, then distally transplanting the entire scapula within that sleeve. (Interested readers can also see Campbell’s description in 1939 ). If this did not allow adequate drop of the scapula, he then performed an osteotomy at the base of the acromion. A postoperative dressing which maintained downward and backward pressure on the scapula was, he insisted, a critical detail. He reported two cases with good results in followup at 15 and 16 months postoperatively .
Dr. Robert D. Schrock is shown. Photograph is reproduced with permission and ©American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Fifty Years of Progress, 1983.
Campbell WC. Operative Orthopedics. Saint Louis, MO: CV Mosby Co; 1939.Cornell Alumni News. 1912. Cornell College Web site. Available at: http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/3529/5/014_36.pdf. Accessed August 17, 2007.Robert D. Schrock, M.D. 1884–1960. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1961;43:155–157.Schrock RD. Congenital elevation of the scapula. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1926;8:207–215.