Maude Helen Malick, OTR, died one day after her 90th birthday, on October 12, 2011.
After graduating from Milwaukee Downer College/Lawrence University in Wisconsin in 1939, Maude served as a lieutenant in the Navy Medical Service Corps during WWII. Following her marriage to Franklin Sherrick Malick in 1945, she resumed her career as an occupational therapist at Harmarville Rehabilitation Center in 1964. Mary Kasch OTR, CVE, CHT, the executive director of the Hand Therapy Certification Commission, recalls: “Maude told us that she stayed home to raise her four children and became very active in establishing a public library near her home because there wasn't one. She didn't go back to a regular ‘job’ until her youngest child was in junior high school. She reminded us to treasure every moment we could with our kids because they grow so quickly. She was the balanced voice to ‘having it all.’”
At Harmarville, Maude held a range of positions including serving as the first woman administrator as Vice-President of Specialty Services. She simultaneously made a significant contribution nationally and internationally to the standard of care for burn, hand, and quadriplegic patients. Judith Carr, OTR, says of Maude: “She helped move therapists higher up the food chain.”
Focusing on the rehabilitation of patients with hand injuries and burns, Maude worked with Johnson & Johnson to develop thermoplastic materials to replace metal and leather orthotics, and expanded the burn treatment work of Barbara Willis by further developing pressure garments and splinting to prevent contractures in burn patients. She became an internationally recognized expert lecturing, consulting, and training in the techniques of this new method of burn treatment and splinting in Switzerland (her native country), Puerto Rico, Sweden, The Netherlands, South Africa, and Australia. She served as a consultant to many Pittsburgh area hospitals, including the Western Pennsylvania Hospital Burn Unit. In 1976 she received the American Burn Association President's Continuing Education Award for her contributions to burn care.
Perhaps most of all she will be remembered for the creation of some of the first manuals written for therapists, which remain useful references to this day: Manual on Static Hand Splinting in 1972, Manual on Dynamic Hand Splinting with Thermoplastic Materials in 1978 (translated into German and Spanish), Manual on Management of the Burn Patient, co-authored by Judith A. Carr, OTR in 1982, Manual on Management of Specific Hand Problems co-edited with Mary C. Kasch, OTR in 1986, and Manual on Management of the Quadriplegic Upper Extremity co-authored with Christa M.H. Meyer, Dip. OT, OTR in 1986. The manuals were ‘how-to’ books for reference in the treatment clinic. Maude would find an expert engineer or designer (sometimes her husband Frank or her son John) who could explain the mechanics and graphically display the information she desired, resulting in innovative, clear, and detailed illustrations. Perhaps lesser known are the slide series and films on burn rehabilitation, hand splinting, and hand evaluation produced by Maude at Harmarville.
Maude created a vast international network of colleagues, therapists, surgeons, physicians, technicians, and medical product manufacturers. Dominique Thomas, RPT of France says of Maude: “She was multicultural, multilingual, a citizen of the world, and a generous person. She transposed that background into Hand Therapy.”
Maude quickly and decisively assessed the achievements, problems, and needs of all she met. Her response was invariably to offer encouragement and support which resulted in her long-term involvement in a multitude of projects, often securing the funding resources from her own initiative. This included obtaining support from Carolyn Jobst Gottfried (owner of the Jobst pressure garment company) and Harmarville to send manuals and to sponsor workshops taught by Maude for the Special Interest Group on Orthotics and Prosthetics in England. Maude also developed on-site training programs and courses at Harmarville.
Maude wrote about another project: “The first Hand Therapy Teleconference – A National Symposium in October 1984. The format of a live national teleconference where you can see skilled therapists lecturing and demonstrating their expertise accompanied by a comprehensive printed manual is another step forward in our commitment to quality education.”
Maude Malick, a delightful and entertaining companion and friend of many, was a leader by example who contributed to the improved quality of patient care while she raised the professional stature of occupational therapists worldwide, all the while preserving the core of her life for her family and encouraging us to do the same.
© 2012 Hanley & Belfus. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.