Dr. Joseph Gross probably didn’t realize what he was creating when he established his orthopaedic surgery office in 1949. What started as a one-man office has now grown to a staff of 17 orthopaedic surgeons, 4 physician assistants, and 70+ non-medical employees.
Joseph Gross completed his orthopaedic residency at the University of Minnesota and practiced alone until 1953 when Dr. Frank Iwersen joined him. Dr. Bernard Kratochvil was added to the group in 1963 and Dr. Robert J. Klein joined the practice in 1965. Dr. Timothy Fitzgibbons and Dr. R. Michael Gross, son of the founder Dr. Joseph Gross, were added in the mid-1970’s. Their practice was located at the Medical Arts Building at Seventeenth and Dodge Streets in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1983, in order to meet the growing need for space, the group moved their offices to the Bergan Mercy Medical Building South Tower. In 1995, they moved to their current location in the North Medical Office Building on the Bergan Mercy Campus.
In the late 1970’s, in order to meet the demands for a more sophisticated level of care, the field of orthopaedic surgery began fragmenting into specialized areas: pediatrics, hand, joint replacement, etc. GIKK Ortho Specialists changed with the times and grew one subspecialty at a time. As a group of specialized orthopedists, it compared itself to a department store with several specialized areas, with each area contributing to the success of the whole. Instrumental in this evolution was the time Dr. Joseph Gross spent with Dr. John Charnley, of Lancashire England, the physician who single-handedly ushered in the era of joint replacement with the development of the “low-friction arthroplasty”. Following his time with Dr. Charnley, Dr. Joseph Gross brought back specialized instruments and techniques that revolutionized the treatment of hip arthritis in Omaha.
While the location and some of the personnel have changed, the commitment to excellence has not. Drs. Joseph Gross, Frank Iwersen, and Robert Klein have passed away, leaving Dr. Kratochvil as the senior member. In addition to Drs. Kratochvil, Michael Gross and Timothy Fitzgibbons, twelve other orthopaedic surgeons, Drs. C. Michael Kelly, John McCarthy, T. Kevin O’Malley, Jeffery J. Tiedeman, Scott T. McMullen, Erik T. Otterberg, David J. Inda, Samuel P. Phillips, Lonnie R. Mercier, Charles E. Rosipal, Kathleen M. Grier, Kimberly A. Turman, Daniel L. Gaffney, Brett W. Fischer, David C. Buck and Nicholas J. Wegner currently practice with the group.
The group has had consistent involvement with Creighton University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Since its inception, it has taken on the responsibility of orthopaedic teaching to medical students and orthopaedic residents from CU and UNMC. Several of its doctors have completed residencies at the combined Creighton and University of Nebraska Residency Program. As a symbol of the group’s longtime involvement, especially Dr. Iwersen’s with the Creighton athletics, Creighton named its Strength Room after Dr. Iwersen.
Through the years Drs. Gross, Iwersen, Kratochvil & Klein P.C., provided orthopaedic consultation and services for a wide range of teams at many levels and different sports including baseball, football, basketball and hockey. At various times, they worked with grade school teams at Christ the King and high school teams at Creighton Prep and Gross High, as well as teams at Creighton, UNO and the College of St. Mary, the Omaha Lancers Hockey team, the Omaha Mustang’s professional football team and Omaha’s AAA baseball affiliate, the Omaha Royals and the College World Series.
Many of the members of the group have also been very active in the local and national medical communities. Dr. Joseph Gross served as the Chief of Staff at Bergan Mercy Hospital for three years. Dr. Iwersen served as the Chief of Orthopedics at Creighton University and as the orthopaedic consultant for the Omaha Royals and Creighton University. Dr. Kratochvil and Dr. Fitzgibbons both have served as the President of the Mid-America Orthopaedic Association which has 1,500 members in 20 states. Drs. Kratochvil, Fitzgibbons and McMullen have served terms as the Nebraska representative on the Board of Councilors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In addition, Dr. Michael Gross has practiced orthopaedic surgery as a volunteer in countries like Uganda, Bhutan, and Honduras for a month each year for the last few years.
Through it all Drs. Gross, Iwersen, Kratochvil & Klein have remained on the cutting edge of orthopaedic surgery practices and techniques. Dr. R. Michael Gross presented his pioneering work on shoulder joint replacement to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. His research focuses on improving the quality and durability of the shoulder replacement by improving the cement fixation into the shoulder blade. Dr. Gross and Dr. Fitzgibbons have regularly participated as lecturers and faculty members at meetings and courses held throughout the country.
From a one-man office in downtown Omaha, Drs. Gross, Iwersen, Kratochvil & Klein has grown to become one of the largest group of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Omaha. Its growth is due to more than sixty-five years of following a simple philosophy – provide the best orthopaedic care and treat your patients in the manner in which you yourself would want to be treated.