October 27, 2023

Lindley Wall, MD, MSc, an esteemed alumna of the Washington University Orthopedics surgical residency program, has risen through the ranks to become the Chief of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery. Her journey is an inspiring testament to the excellence fostered within the program.

Highlights from Residency 

Dr. Wall fondly reflects on her time as a resident, emphasizing the tight-knit nature of her class. The competitive yet collaborative environment meant they were "in the trenches together." Their unity helped her grow both personally and professionally. She credits her fellow residents, particularly the chief residents, for teaching her as much about orthopedics as her mentors did.

Many mentors were influential during her training. Both Charles Goldfarb, MD, and Paul Manske, MD, played pivotal roles in shaping her career path in upper extremity care. From trauma surgeons, she learned crucial technical skills and important key messages in the operating room about how surgery should be performed. Dr. Rick Wright instilled in her the significance of clinical efficiency, maintaining a work-life balance, and pursuing research. Another mentor, Martin Boyer, MD, always emphasized the importance of family. In a field traditionally dominated by men, his support of her family was invaluable. 

Orthopedics and Pediatric Upper Extremity 

Dr. Wall's path to orthopedics began during her third-year rotation at Washington University School of Medicine. She was drawn to the department first by the people who had such passion for their work and really wanted to be doing it. Seeing patients recover and regain their mobility was a driving force behind her decision to pursue orthopedics. 

Pediatric upper extremity cases, particularly those involving the hand, caught Dr. Wall's attention during residency. She was inspired by the expertise of those she trained under and her time at Shriner's Children's St. Louis solidified her passion for pediatric orthopedics. The dynamic nature of the field and the ability to make a lasting impact on children and their families made pediatric orthopedics a perfect fit.

Key Society Gift 

Every year, the J. Albert Key Alumni Society provides residents with their first set of loupes. A significant piece of equipment for a hand surgeon, Dr. Wall remembers feeling like she had finally made it as a "full-fledged surgeon," when she received her loupes. 

Educator Role and Advice 

Today, Dr. Wall finds herself in the role of an educator, a full circle journey. She enjoys teaching the technical aspects of surgery, guiding students in their research, and setting and example of excellence. 

Dr. Wall has valuable advice for those in residency or fellowship. She emphasizes the importance of making the most of the protection and guidance you have during your training. Take advantage of the time, learning, and mentorship available because, sooner than you think, you will be on your own. It may seem long and challenging, because it is, but keep pushing forward, and remember that even the longest night of call eventually comes to an end.

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