Service is a way of life for those that don a military uniform for the United States. For some, that dedication to others and their community lasts long after their duty concludes.
Kristaps J. Keggi, MD, professor emeritus and senior research scientist in the Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation, was among 13 veterans inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame on July 29, 2021. The ceremony took place in person at the State Armory in Hartford, Connecticut and commemorated distinguished individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving the community after their time in the military.
Keggi was nominated by Robert G. Dorr of the Waterbury Veterans Association for induction in 2020. The recognition was ultimately delayed until recently due to restrictions associated with the pandemic.
“It was my honor to have collaborated with Dr. Keggi over the past several years as we worked to honor our local veterans,” Dorr said. “Now, it was his turn to be honored, and it was certainly well-deserved.”
Those inducted into the Hall of Fame have been acknowledged for significantly impacting the community through the arts, education, public service, volunteer activities, or leadership. Keggi joins the following distinguished Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame inductees: former President George H. W. Bush, former Deputy Connecticut House Speaker Richard Belden, and former Connecticut Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz.
Keggi graduated from Yale College in 1955 and from Yale School of Medicine in 1959. In 1957, he volunteered and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. After completing his residency Yale in 1964, he served two years on active duty as an orthopaedic surgeon.
He was a member of the teaching staff of the Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, TX during his first year of active duty, while his second year was spent with the 3rd Surgical Hospital, Mobile, Army (MASH) in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Keggi primarily served the wounded of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 1st Infantry Division, and the 25th Infantry Division. In addition, his voluntary civic action work led to his initiation into the Rha De Montagnard Tribe of the Central Highlands in Vietnam. He has stayed in touch with some of the wounded troops he treated, among them a Yale College varsity rower and Marine.
Following his active duty in Vietnam, Keggi returned to Yale and joined the Orthopaedics faculty in 1966. He resigned his commission in 1969. He worked in New Haven and Waterbury before concluding his academic clinical career as an endowed professor in 2017. Keggi has devoted his life to Yale and the teaching of both residents and fellows. He has also shared his experiences with war wounds in Vietnam through multiple lectures and an American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) instructional course. Keggi is considered to be the pioneer of the anterior approach, a tissue sparing technique to total hip replacement surgery, which he introduced to the AAOS in 1977.
Beyond academia, Keggi has created and endowed many educational opportunities for students such as the Keggi Orthopedic Foundation, now named the Yale Keggi-Kimball Fund for International Orthopedic Education, and the Yale Keggi-Berzins Baltic Studies Fund, among others. Most recently, he co-created the Keggi-Rubin Hip Implant Collection at Yale University, which will be donated to the Yale Historic Medical Library this year.
Keggi’s impact on Orthopaedics will be long-lasting in the medical community and recognition for a lifetime of contributions and service will exist in perpetuity through the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame.