Doc Star: Dr. Freddie Fu
Dr. Freddie Fu travels the globe as an educator teaching medical professionals about a unique orthopaedic surgery technique. He is also an “ambassador,” spreading the good news about Pittsburgh and pushing for positive change, including greater diversity, in his profession.
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Photo by Frank Walsh
Dr. Freddie Fu has yet to visit Antarctica. But work has taken him to nearly every corner of the globe during the 13 years he has served as chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC.
These days, Fu spends about one-third of his life on the road, returning from trips just long enough to connect with his staff and family before preparing for his next journey. He crisscrosses America and the rest of the planet to share his medical knowledge and publicize the groundbreaking research happening in Pittsburgh. But even on his busiest days, Fu doesn’t experience the world as simply a blur of airports, hotels and hospitals. This is a man who does not generalize. This is a man who notices the details.
On a recent trip to Europe where he shared his pioneering surgical technique on anatomic ACL reconstruction with other doctors, Fu stayed at the posh Four Seasons Hotel in Milan. While there, he savored meals in the hotel’s three-star gourmet restaurant—just as you’d expect any guest to do. But he wanted more than just one perspective on “good Italian food.”
So, he searched out local hole-in-the-wall trattorias, the kind that are hardly noticed by most tourists but happen to serve exquisite pasta for just a handful of euros. “I like to see the places where people hang out,” Fu says. “I check it out and see who is eating inside.”
It’s a theme that runs through every aspect of Fu’s life: He deals with all things—people, meals, cultures, even surgeries others consider routine—by looking at the individual details.
And because this is Fu’s approach to all things, he has changed the way some doctors perform surgery on anterior cruciate ligaments, which are more commonly known as ACLs.
If you need ACL surgery someday, you will be glad that Dr. Fu came to Pittsburgh from his native Hong Kong more than 25 years ago. And you will also be glad he is a person who notices the details.