AAPS, American Association of Plastic Surgeons
AAPS, American Association of Plastic Surgeons
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Arthur G. Ship M.D.

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Arthur G. Ship M.D.
1928 - 2017

Arthur was the oldest of three children born in 1928 to Lilian and Max Ship, immigrants from Russia. The family lived in the Bronx where his father was a pharmacist and owned a drug store. Here, his father taught him Hebrew while eating sandwiches together in a back room during the nearby school lunch hour. He learned yiddish from his non-english speaking maternal grandparents and at classes at a Workman’s Circle. With a talent for music and piano, Arthur was enrolled at the Julliard School of Music. He went on to the High School of Music and Art and to college at NYU, where he was a pianist in the college orchestra. He graduated at age 19 and then earned a master’s degree in biology. In six years at Harvard, he received a D.M.D. in 1952 and an M.D. in 1954.

His postgraduate path took him to Mount Sinai Hospital in N.Y.C. for an internship, then to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland for two years and back to New York for general surgery at Montefiore Hospital. Arthur spent two years in St. Louis with Francis X. Paletta learning plastic surgery, an experience he always spoke about with animated emotion. He earned board certification in plastic surgery in 1963, then began private practice in New York City, and joined Michael Lewin for a short time before he struck out on his own . He joined the staff of several hospitals but Montefiore was always his favorite. There he was a force in practice and loved teaching and interacting with residents. Participation with him in surgical procedures was very interactive for residents, allowing them to learn from the master. His block time on Friday was a most popular venue which included a great learning opportunity and lunch! With a great interest in maxillofacial surgery and a dental back ground, Arthur developed several teaching courses for the resident staff, including maxilllofacial modeling and correct patient photography. Later in his practice, he worked at Beth Israel Medical Center where his focus again was teaching residents and fellows. He took great interest in the future of trainees offering career advice and contacting colleagues to help secure fellowships and practice positions.

Arthur’s professional activities were diverse including hospital committee participation taking him to the presidency of the Montefiore Medical Staff and the Montefiore Alumni Association . He was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of AAAASF and president of the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons from 1983-84 . Together, we established AAAASF facility #13. He was active in many ASPS and Maxillofacial Surgeons committees, authored many peer reviewed articles, book chapters and served as visiting professor. Arthur would spend a day in the New York Academy of Medicine library researching material for a paper or presentation, searching details particularly of historical significance. During his later years in practice, he worked at Rockefeller Institute with Jules Hirsch regarding cellulite using specimens obtained from clinical cases (with consent). In travel with his family, he visited plastic surgeons nationally and internationally, learning and making lifelong friends. The new techniques and ideas were shared with colleagues and residents after careful evaluation. He was eager to apply these new techniques to his clinical practice.

During the more than 25 years we practiced together, we often traveled in one car after Montefiore plastic surgery weekly conference to office hours in Manhattan. Our discussions included patient care, new techniques to apply to our practice and his critique of the design faults in the highways and bridges we traveled.

Arthur married Enid Silver in 1958 and they eventually settled in Larchmont, New York where the raised Andrew and Amy. He taught Andrew how to use a camera at a young age and Amy the violin. Family was of utmost importance and he delighted in the childrens’ accomplishments participating in their activities whenever possible. He was active on his synagogue board, enjoyed participating in the service, and read the Torah with great skill, always with enthusiasm.

Amy Ship, M.D. made her dad proud that there was another Dr. Ship. She referred to him as what in Boston was called a triple threat: praise for a physician who excels at clinical care, research and teaching. She recalled his concern about automotive safety: Working with Physicians for Automotive Safety, improvements were made in steering wheels and windshields to reduce crash injuries. In like manner, their family Studebaker had seat belts installed. Hearing that there was a need for surgeons in Israel to care for Yom Kippur War casualties, he left immediately to participate in their care.

Arthur could fix almost anything: plumbing, electrical or a broken shoe. From the O.R. he brought home anything that was not contaminated that could be utilized for repairs or recycled for some use. I still comment in the O.R. “ Save that for Dr. Ship”.

During his long and debilitating illness, he continued intellectual activities and pursued his love of music, focusing on the nuances of each composition. When he spoke to family and friends, he wanted to know the details of what was new in their lives and family, particularly the grandchildren. Arthur Ship is survived by his wife Enid, children Andrew (Barbara Basuk), Amy (Robert Cohen), grandchildren Hannah Ship and Jonah Cohen, and a sister Joyce Zaritsky.

Paul Weiss, M.D.

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