Press Release: Scranton Orthopedic Surgeon Earns PAMED Lifetime Achievement Award for 40 Years of Community Service

Last Updated: Apr 19, 2021

April 19, 2021

John H. Doherty, Jr., MD, an orthopedic surgeon from Lackawanna County who practices at Geisinger Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine in Scranton, was named the 2021 recipient of the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED) Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award is considered the highest honor a member can receive from PAMED. Its first recipient in 1956 was Jonas E. Salk, MD, who was recognized for his achievements in developing the anti-polio vaccine.

Dr. Doherty has been a practicing orthopedic surgeon in Scranton since 1980. Prior to joining Geisinger in January of 2018, he was a partner in Professional Orthopaedic Associates, Ltd. During this time, he has taken care of thousands of patients and their families.

“As an independent practitioner, his income was heavily reliant on the patient's ability to pay, but payment information was never even a consideration when deciding who to see and when,” said his nominator. I would often tell him in advance that he would not be paid for his services and in fact had not been paid for services to that patient in the past. His answer was always ‘bring them in - I will see them.’”

His nominator adds that Dr. Dr. Doherty adds patients to his schedule every day and will stay well into the night if necessary to accommodate them.

“He is an incredibly inclusive person and in the seventeen years I have worked with him, I have never seen him turn anyone away who needs his help,” she said.

As a result of his thirty-eight years of dedicated service, Dr. Doherty is a beloved figure in his community. For over thirty years, he has made quarterly house calls to St. Joseph's Center in Scranton so that the residents do not have to make the often-painful van journey to be seen in the office.

He has served on and volunteered for multiple local non-profit organizations, including his volunteer work to help build and maintain a hospital in Haiti. Since 2010, Dr. Doherty has worked in collaboration with Fr. Rick Frechette, an American priest who is also a physician, to build and maintain a state of the art operating room for the people of Port-au-Prince. To that end, he visits the island every year and works tirelessly to supply the hospital and bring patients to America when the care they need is not available in Haiti.

“I think you can sum up Dr. Doherty's humble philosophy in the one sentence he keeps on a 5 by 4 card under the glass on his desk that asks, ‘What good shall I do this day?’” said his nominator. “As an eyewitness to his goodness, I can say without reservation that he accomplishes that goal every single day.”

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Claire Shearer, Pennsylvania Medical Society  


About the Pennsylvania Medical Society

PAMED is a physician-led, member-driven organization representing all physicians and medical students throughout the state. We advocate for physicians and their patients, educate physicians through continuing medical education, and provide expert resources and guidance to help physicians and their organizations navigate challenges in today’s ever-evolving health care system. For more information, visit


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