Titan of Trauma
Date: June 7, 2013
In the late 1970s, when Clifford H. Turen was an undergraduate at Hopkins’ School of Arts and Sciences, he lived for several years as a boarder in the home of Milton S. Eisenhower, the university’s president emeritus. Six decades separated them in age, but Turen and Eisenhower shared many interests—in particular a passion for baseball. “[Cliff] used to say, ‘The Super Bowl is what you do between the World Series and spring training,’” recalled a colleague of Turen’s at the University of Maryland’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
Turen (faculty, orthopedic surgery, 2001-2007) brought an equal passion to his practice of trauma surgery and orthopedics. He gained international renown for his expertise during his two decades at the Shock Trauma Center, where he became chief of orthopedics, director of the orthopedic traumatology fellowship, and program director of the orthopedic surgery residency program.
Turen, of Clarksville, Md., was killed on the night of Jan. 13, 2013, when the single engine on his private Piper Cherokee Arrow airplane failed and it crashed in a dense fog near Dover, Del. An experienced pilot who learned to fly while in the Navy, he was alone in the aircraft. He was 55.
After earning his medical degree at SUNY’s Upstate Medical University in 1983, Turen obtained a 1988 fellowship in shock trauma at the University of Maryland. Then he spent four years in the Navy as chief of the orthopedic trauma service at the Portsmouth Naval Regional Medical Center in Virginia. He remained an active Navy reservist for 28 years, becoming a commander.
Returning to Shock Trauma in 1990 as a part-time consultant and surgeon, he joined the faculty in 1993. He remained there until 2009, when he left to become chief of orthopedics and founder of the orthopedic residency program at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon. He joined the Dover, Del.-based Bayhealth Medical Center in 2011.
Andrew Pollak, acting head of orthopedics at University of Maryland, called Turen “one of the premier surgeons that I’ve ever worked with.”
As a leader of AO North America, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing orthopedic care, Turen became known to orthopedic surgeons worldwide. “His effect was international,” said another former colleague from Shock Trauma, Thomas Scalea, who recalled watching Turen teach surgeons in Colombia how to repair pelvic fractures.
In addition to his work at Shock Trauma and as a Navy reservist, Turen served as medical director of the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, as well as the Washington, D.C., fire department and the Howard County, Md., fire and rescue department. He also was a volunteer firefighter, a one-time special deputy U.S. marshall, and head of the tactical emergency medical service program for the National Capital Region’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force. NAG