Dr. Zhong Wei Chen, born in Ning Pou, China, was trained as an orthopedist at Shanghai Medical University. Dr. Chen died when he fell from the balcony of his seventh-floor apartment March 23 in Shanghai. He was 74. At the time of his death, Dr. Chen was the chairman of the department of surgery at Zhong Shan Hospital in Shanghai. He was also a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a founding member of the International Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery. He was named the outstanding scientist of 2003 by the Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants.
Dr. Chen, a part-time resident of Manhattan, helped start the era of microsurgery when, in January 1963, he operated on a Chinese factory worker whose right hand had been severed an inch above the wrist. The operation was the first case of extremity replantation reported inmedical literature.Dr. Chen, a leader in the field of microsurgery, developed many microsurgical procedures at the Sixth People's Hospital in Shanghai, including techniques for reattaching amputated fingers and thumbs, preserving severed extremities, reconstructing muscles and repairing nerves and blood vessels. He published 125 articles, including 33 in English, and lectured at New York University Medical Center and at 40 other universities around the world.
He was honored as the "father of replantation" at the 1978 International Hand Surgery Conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Hui Zhu Yin; his son, Li Jian Chen; his daughter, Dr. Lily Chen, and three grandchildren, all of Manhattan.(Source: Stuart Lavietes, The New York Times, Mar. 27, 2004).