Dr. Lynn Staheli
Obituary

Dr. Lynn Taylor Staheli

November 13, 1933 ‑ August 9, 2021

Written by the University of Washington

Former resident and legend of our department and international orthopaedics, Dr. Lynn Staheli passed away Monday, August 9, at the age of 87.

Department Chair, Dr. Howard Chansky, worked in proximity to Dr. Staheli from 1992-1993 and recalls wonderful memories of his kindness, passion for teaching, compassion for his patients, and his insistence on doing as much as needed, but no more, for the pediatric patients.

Dr. Staheli was an orthopaedic surgery resident at the University of Washington from 1963-1968 (2 years in pediatric orthopaedics). He joined the faculty at the University of Washington and Children’s Orthopedic Hospital (COH) in 1968. He was promoted to full professor several years later and served as the Department Director at COH from 1977-1992.

Dr. Staheli had a life-long passion for teaching and information sharing and founded the Pediatric Orthopedic Study Group and was a founding editor of the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics. In 2002 Dr. Staheli created the non-profit humanitarian organization Global-HELP whose mission was to provide free or low-cost health care publications, primarily on pediatric orthopedics, worldwide.

Dr Staheli was a mentor to many of our current and past faculty, fellows, and residents. Dr. Vincent Mosca, Professor and Chief of Foot and Limb Deformities at Seattle Children’s Hospital, shares his rembrance of Dr. Shaheli’s mentorship and guidance in a heartfelt obituary.

For more information about Dr. Staheli’s life and career please see his website.

Written by his loving family

Lynn Taylor Staheli, M.D., passed away peacefully August 9, 2021 in Seattle, Washington at the age of 87. He attended medical school at the University of Utah and served in the USAF for three years in Germany. He was Founding Editor and Editor Emeritus of the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics and directed the Department of Orthopedics at Children’s Hospital in Seattle for 15 years. In addition he was Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Washington. Dr. Staheli and his wife, Dr. Lana Staheli founded Global HELP Organization (GHO) in 2002. While teaching around the world, they became aware of the critical lack of practical, current, and affordable health care information in the developing world. Global Help Organization (www.global-help.org) is dedicated to providing free medical information online with a focus on children’s health. This organization built on their other international philanthropy that includes the funding of the International Scholarship for Pediatric Orthopedics, providing overseas physicians an opportunity to study in the United States.

Since its founding in 2002, GHO has distributed free publications to more than 150 countries. His book “Clubfoot: Ponseti Management” has been translated into 25 languages, used in over 125 countries, and was selected to be included in the World Health Organization’s Blue Trunk of outstanding publications. After his retirement from clinical practice, he focused on promoting the use of electronic publishing, writing, designing, and illustrating over 15 textbooks using computer technology in the field of pediatric orthopedics, valued immensely across the world. His research on developmental variations during childhood showed that conditions such as flexible flatfeet, in-toeing, and bowlegs are normal variations that resolve without treatment. This information contributed significantly to the decline of unnecessary, ineffective, and unpleasant treatments, such as corrective shoes, night splints, and braces. Lynn trained and mentored countless surgeons, pediatric and adolescent practitioners at home, in the US and around the world, who have gone on to make fundamental contributions that have advanced the field of pediatric orthopedics and who hold leadership positions at all levels. A surgeon he mentored wrote, “You will live forever through your family, and also through the people you have brought up like me, who have always tried and shall continue to carry on your examples of decency, curiosity, loyalty, dedication, humanity. You will be missed, never forgotten, always admired, a beacon to guide us that will shine forever.”

In 2002, he received the highest honor bestowed on a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America (POSNA) Distinguished Achievement Award, for his leadership, academic contributions to the medical literature, and humanitarian efforts. In 2018, Lynn received the well-deserved Humanitarian Award from POSNA. Seattle Children’s Hospital created the Lynn Taylor Staheli Award in 2018 and he was inaugural recipient. Besides his monumental medical and humanitarian pursuits, Lynn was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and brother in addition to being an avid photographer, sailor, aviator, and philosopher. He cared deeply about the world, and particularly the disadvantaged. He strongly valued travel as a means to understand other cultures. He and Lana took their grandchildren on many adventures including trips to over 9 countries. During his active career he had the distinction of being the most traveled surgeon in orthopedics. Such was the demand for him, for his knowledge and his perspective, for his cultural awareness and his caring.

He is survived by his wife Dr. Lana Staheli, who will continue his legacy. He is also survived by his former wife Anne Staheli, their three children, Linda, Diane, and Todd and by 7 grandchildren, his beloved dog Diva, his close brother Kent Staheli and many other family members, colleagues, and friends who will miss his humor, wisdom, generosity, and compassion. In recent years he would walk Diva every morning up the hill to Starbucks where he would order coffee, and sit in his favorite chair with Diva next to him. His greatest desire was to see Global HELP Organization live on and was delighted to know that UC San Francisco agreed to become its new home. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation made out to Global HELP (www.global-help.org ) or Seattle Children’s Hospital. A memorial service will be held in the fall.

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