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National Hand Center in Baltimore receives multi-million dollar helping hand

Renovating national hand center in Baltimore
hand center.jpg
Posted at 5:00 PM, May 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-09 18:28:38-04

BALTIMORE — The state-of-the-art Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore has been emptied out making way for multi-million dollar renovations in large part being paid for with $1.5 million from the feds.

“It’s just a no-brainer in what we’re going to see and what kind of medical care we’re going to receive as a result of this,” said Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger.

The more than $2 million project will modernize the two-floor center, which was built decades ago.

The concept of a hand center dates back to just after World War II when Dr. Raymond Curtis who had performed his surgical training here at Union Memorial pioneered the idea.

What started with Curtis and three colleagues in a trailer abutting the hospital has grown into a staff of 14 full-time hand surgeons, in addition to providing training to all of the similar specialists in the U.S. Army and their work is life-changing.

“There are patients being cared for for trauma,” explained Hand Center Chief Dr. James Higgins, “There’s also arthritis, nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome people have heard of is the most common thing. There are congenital abnormalities where children are born missing fingers or web fingers.

Now, the top specialists in the world will have facilities to match restoring their patients’ hand function and quality of life at the tips of their fingers.

“For affection, for how you identify yourself with the people around you, for things as simple as holding a child,” said Higgins, “These are things that are critically important to how you relate with the world.”