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The Catalyst

Former chair remembered for encouraging attitude

John E. Mahaffey, M.D., died on April 5. Mahaffey was appointed professor and chairman of anesthesiology in 1964.

Mahaffey was born on June 3, 1926, in Lancaster. He was the son of James Mahaffey and Dora Sally Roberts Mahaffey. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Faustina Mahaffey, and other family.

John E. Mahaffey, M.D., died on April 5. Mahaffey was appointed professor and chairman of anesthesiology in 1964.
John E. Mahaffey, M.D.

Mahaffey graduated from Lancaster High School and began college at the University of South Carolina. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946. On his discharge from the U.S. Navy he was diagnosed with inactive tuberculosis, and he completed his degree at USC then entered medical school. He was diagnosed with active tuberculosis at the end of his freshman year and was treated for two years in a sanatorium. He re-entered medical school and graduated from MUSC in 1954.

After completing a residency at Indiana University Medical School, Mahaffey returned to MUSC in 1958 as an instructor and was named acting chairman of the Department of Anesthesia in 1959. He was appointed professor and chairman of the department in 1964. When he retired in 1994, he was the longest-serving anesthesia department chairman in the United States and was named Professor Emeritus.

Mahaffey started MUSC’s respiratory therapy program in 1963 and the School for Nurse Anesthetists in 1965. He also started the Pain Management Program.

According to Jerry Reves, M.D., dean emeritus of the College of Medicine, Mahaffey created a legacy of anesthesiologists. “He was one of the early anesthesia chairmen and one of the longest serving, which attests to his ability and the enormous legacy of anesthesiologists that he created for our state and nation.”

Mahaffey served as president of the South Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists, was a board member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and held memberships in 44 national medical organizations.

In 2008, in recognition of his contributions to the field of anesthesiology and to MUSC, he was honored with The John E. Mahaffey, MD Endowed Chair in Anesthesiology, the highest award a university can bestow upon a faculty member.

He enjoyed spending time with his family, fishing, driving his boat on the Ashley River and following his South Carolina Gamecocks. He will be remembered for his calm demeanor, encouraging attitude and his conviction to bring out the best in others.

Contributions may be made to The John E. Mahaffey Endowed Chair at MUSC, 18 Bee St., Charleston, S.C., 29425.

April 11, 2013

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