Friday, July 25, 2014

A maverick’s memorial

RESPECTFUL REMEMBRANCE: Warshaw, left, and David F. Torchiana, MD, MGPO chairman and chief executive officer, stand beside the Codman memorial headstone.

Nearly 74 years after his death, Ernest Amory Codman, MD, FACS, has been honored with a memorial headstone on his previously unmarked gravesite at the historic Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. Leaders from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the MGH gathered at a July 22 dedication event to pay homage to the man best known for advocating the “End Result Idea” – a belief that the outcomes of a surgeon’s practice rather than seniority should determine his promotion. Codman, whose ideas have contributed to the framework for surgical quality improvement in the U.S. – and for outcomes research in general – served at the MGH in 1899 and again from 1902 until his resignation in 1914.

“Dr. Codman was a man ahead of his time,” says Andrew Warshaw, MD, former chief of the MGH Department of Surgery. “Though his ideas were not appreciated in his lifetime, he transformed the way we view medicine today. Codman viewed improving patient care and improving standards as a personal obligation. This memorial is a reminder of the impact one person can have in the long run.”

Warshaw spent the last two years helping to raise $20,000 for the granite and bronze memorial, crafted by Boston-based sculptor Daniel Altshuler. The epitaph reads, "Father of outcomes assessment and quality measurement: It may take 100 years for my ideas to be accepted." During the ceremony, ACS leaders addressed Codman’s valiant contributions to patient care and expressed their gratitude to donors.

Read more articles from the 07/25/14 Hotline issue.


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