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In Memoriam of Dominik Meyer, MD

Dominik Meyer, Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Zürich and former Head of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery sadly lost his battle against an incurable illness on December 15, 2019. For those of you who did not know Dominik, he was a brilliant surgeon, innovative thinker, and a wonderful person. His basic and clinical research transformed our understanding of shoulder pathology and its treatment. Unsurprisingly, he won multiple research awards including collaboration on the Kappa Delta Award and Neer Award for his work with Christian Gerber on rotator cuff disease, which defined parameters for predicting if a rotator cuff was likely to heal with direct repair. His extensive research over two decades spanned a range of topics and sought to answer important questions about the shoulder and elbow as well as other anatomic regions. Beyond his impressive academic work, he also developed new technology and held a number of patents, thus advancing surgical care in so many ways. And somehow he still had the time to learn and fluently speak four languages!


I was fortunate to meet Dominik through Christian Gerber, who has been my friend since 1988. I was grateful to have Dominik as my colleague and even more grateful to have him as a friend. One of my fondest memories of Dominik was when we were driving down the mountain in the middle of a blinding snowstorm from the Advanced Arthroscopy Course in Val d’Isere, France. In his characteristic confident manner and with his charmingly dry sense of humor, he reassured me that he taught off road driving to the Swiss Army so I should not worry. During this early morning journey we talked about his professional career, his family, and his values. It was clear to me then that he was a special person.


My perspective comes from a generation older than Dominik, and I have spent much of my career mentoring students and giving true talent the recognition it deserves. It was very evident to me that he possessed a special combination of humility , intelligence, humor, creativity and curiosity that made him one of these individuals who deserves such recognition. Few people are as genuinely likable as he while also maintaining the courage to stand by what they believe is right regardless of outside perception.


Dominik is survived by his wife and four children. If our ultimate legacy is our family and the people we influence who live on after us, it is without question that Dominik leaves a wonderful legacy. I am so grateful to have known him and to be able to acknowledge the magnitude of his impact which continues to benefit both physicians and patients alike.


I felt it only right that he should have an in memoriam on the Codman Shoulder Society website as he is the kind of individual Codman undoubtedly would have respected and admired.


Dominik Meyer leaves a very large void. His patients, his colleagues, his students and his friends remember his humor, intelligence, empathy and dedication. We are greatly indebted to him and will always cherish his memory.

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