Bertram E. Bromberg, M.D.
1918 - 2014
Bertram E. Bromberg, M.D. died in Jupiter, Florida on June 22, 2014 at the age of 96. He was an outstanding clinician, dedicated teacher, brilliant researcher, and a valued partner in practice to three generations of surgeons. His stellar contributions to plastic surgery were recognized when he was selected as a Director of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He served as the Board Vice Chairman from 1983-1984.
Bert was born in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City in 1918. He first obtained his D.D.S. from the Columbia School of Dentistry, followed by his M.D. degree from Long Island College of Medicine in 1945. He was selected for membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
He served as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy in World War II. After the war he completed his general surgery training at Knickerbocker Hospital in New York City and his plastic surgery residency at New York Hospital under the tutelage of Dr. Herb Conway.
Upon completion of his plastic surgical training, Bert entered private practice in New York City, working at several hospitals in New York and Brooklyn. In 1954 he relocated to Long Island and joined Leonard Rubin, M.D. and Richard Walden, M.D. becoming the third member of the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group. It was here that he was able to blend his success in private practice with his dedication to research and teaching. Dr. Clarence Dennis, a renowned Professor of Surgery in New York, appointed Dr. Bromberg as Chief of Plastic Surgery at the Kings County Medical Center in Brooklyn in 1960. In his letter of appointment he described Bert as "a hard driver, well organized, committed to residency training, and a physician that others would follow." That description captured his exact professional career.
From 1960 to 1977 Dr. Bromberg was Director of the Plastic Surgical Program at Downstate/Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, where he graduated three residents each year. He was known as a perfectionist and pushed his residents to excel. His dedication to resident training and research was further recognized in 1982 when he was chosen for membership in the Residency Review Committee for Plastic Surgery. He was a partner in the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group for over 30 years and the director of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at North Shore University Hospital-Cornell University Medical College in Manhasset from 1984 until his retirement in 1990.
Bert had interests in many areas of research but his background in dentistry and oral surgery led him to study facial fractures. He produced landmark papers on maxillofacial trauma and congenital deformities. Much of his research involved burn wounds. With Leonard Rubin he authored many articles on the treatment of burns and wound coverage. Bert was an early proponent of the use of pigskin as a skin substitute in the care of major burn injuries. His early research set the stage for its continued use in burn care today.
Bertís dedication to and involvement in plastic surgery education brought many leadership roles. In addition to chairing a plastic surgery residency program and participating in the Residency Review Committee, he was President of the New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons, which honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Bert served on multiple committees in the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, including the Executive Committee. He was an active member of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The Brombergs spent 50 years as summer residents in Montauk, N.Y. They were passionate and accomplished sport fishermen. He was as proficient on the ocean as he was in the operating room. After moving to Florida they developed an interest in horticulture and grew 90 species of palm trees on their property. Bertís wife Gloria is an accomplished artist who collaborated with Bert on a series of beautiful stained glass panels. Bert is survived by Gloria, his wife of 69 years, three children and three grandchildren. His family was always of primary importance to him.
Bertís distinguished career in plastic surgery was outstanding in every respect. He excelled in clinical practice, organizational skills, and was instrumental in training dozens of plastic surgical residents. He held the respect and admiration of his peers. Bert was a unique individual. His charisma and professionalism drew us to the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group for an entire career, passing his practice principles to the next generations. Bert was a great mentor and friend and we remember his laughter and passion for the specialty.
Bert will be greatly missed by those who had the privilege of knowing him.
Bruce W. Brewer, M.D.
Roger L. Simpson, M.D., MBA