In Memoriam: Paul van Lede

Paul van Lede
Posted by Steven Cuypers on 02/28/2017

It is with great sadness that I have to let you know that Paul Van Lede passed away.

For many years, Paul was THE Orfit Splinting Product Specialist. He is the one who introduced the early Orfit thermoplastic line to many hand therapists, OTs and PTs across the globe. He was a master in splinting techniques, which he passed on to thousands of enthusiastic therapists in all corners of the world. During his time at Orfit, he traveled to 60 countries.

During many years, Paul developed unique ways of making static and dynamic splints that nobody else had done before. Through several publications, among which two books, he gave a clear insight in the biomechanics of the hand and the mechanics of splinting. He made understanding the hand and pathologies of the hand an easy task for therapists and surgeons, young and experienced alike.

In addition, he spent many hours with our engineers with the purpose of improving thermoplastics and developing innovative splint materials.

Paul is appreciated and loved by all splinting specialists as a colleague with unique teaching capabilities that echoed further in the career of many therapists.

He graduated in 1967 as a bachelor in Occupational Therapy. In 1968, Paul became head of the OT department within the department of Physical Medicine at the University Hospital of Liège, Belgium. In 1973, he finalized a post-graduate course in orthotics, and in 1984 he promoted as a Master in Hospital Sciences.

In 1986, Paul wanted to spread his wings and I gladly accepted his application as Product Specialist for Orfit splint materials. He later became our Senior Product Manager until he retired in 2009.

With tons of respect, I can say “The rest is history…”

His contributions to the world of orthotics are of unsurpassed value and of importance for the benefit of patients, therapists and surgeons. We will remember Paul as an excellent therapist, a master in teaching, a beautiful person and a great colleague and friend. He is now resting peacefully.

-Steven Cuypers, Owner, Orfit Industries
Letter provided by Debby Schwartz

Paul van Lede pictured in 2000 with Orfit team members



We were blessed to have Paul come to our Fairview Hand Center clinic in Minneapolis, probably around 2006. He was so much fun, and I still have the little hand pin with "bling" that he was so famous for making for his attendees. The principles for static and dynamic hand orthoses that he taught are still the ones which guide me now. We have his books in our clinic, which are often referred to for patterns, and guidance. He will be missed greatly in the hand community around the world. Virginia O'Brien