Remembering Arthur Manoli, II, MD

Written by Andrew Sands, Michael Swords and Bruce Sangeorzan

18 November 2020

Adapted from an article the AO Foundation.

The AO Trauma community mourns the death of Arthur Manoli, II. There will be many obituaries written about the life of Art Manoli, reciting his many academic accomplishments. This is not that.

Before delving into what this is, we want to share with his family, Arthur and Christina, how very proud he was of you. Whenever we were together or emailing or texting, he inevitably shared something each of you had accomplished or a trait in you he thought was terrific. He was the prototypical proud Papa. You should be comforted by the thought that he loved you so much and he was loved by so very many of us.

Art was a great friend. There is no more important trait that describes a man than that. He had a wide circle of orthopedic surgeons and “civilians” who talked with him, shared stories about him, and always looked to do something with him or checked up on him when he needed us to be his friend. The care he engendered tells us about the type of person he was. Friend to all, loved by many.

Art had several loves. Without question, his main love was teaching—and not just young surgeons as a fellowship director. He was a very cool dude who had many stories, but there was always in  a teaching moment in there: a thought, a bit of philosophy, a technique, a way of doing things. And so it followed that he came to love AO and especially Davos.

Most of us remember him in Davos. He will forever be sitting at the bar in the Steigenberger or walking the promenade trying to not go head over heels on the icy surface as he went out dinner, no doubt snails or fondue. We came up with many ideas sitting together at the dinner table—new technical ideas and teaching ideas. We thought of ourselves as the AO knights of the round table. 

Art shared some terrific ideas which are worth repeating. He recommended that we carry a pad and pen and always be ready to write, as you never know when an idea will appear—a culpo di fulmine—a thunderbolt. Now, of course, everyone has a phone, which is a small computer and can perform the same function.

Whenever the thought hits you, stop what you are doing and take a minute to write it down. Email it to yourself or use Notepad. When writing, just let the ideas flow and the words come out on paper. Don’t look at the screen. Instead just type it all out. Go back later and make corrections and edit. Don’t constrain the process at the beginning. This was the Manoli writing technique.

Among the many topics Art taught us were foot compartment syndrome and cavus foot biomechanics. When others would say to him, “I don’t see cavus in my practice,” he would say, “You may not see it, but it sure sees you.”

Art was our brother in the Hansen philosophy of foot and ankle surgery, built on AO principles. When we initiated the Hansen Lectureship to be given in Davos during the foot and ankle course, he was of course the first recipient. This honor, given for lifetime contribution to AO foot and ankle, was well-deserved. 

He really enjoyed the week in Davos and the company of the AO family. His lecture was attended by many AO presidents. He told us that the certificate he received was displayed prominently on his wall.

When you are in Davos and it is a wonderfully sunny day, look to the mountaintops and say a word of greeting to Art. Tell your residents about Art Manoli so his name is remembered.

We will miss him terribly. 

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