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Department of Surgery

Horace G. Smithy Lectureship

Horace G. Smithy, MDOn January 30, 1948, a young Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina made medical history by successfully removing scar tissue from a heart valve of a young, incapacitated girl who had been given but a brief time to live.  The technique employed by the 34-year old Horace G. Smithy was based upon two years of exhaustive research experimentation.  Dr. Smithy's research included the design of a new instrument, known as a valvulotome, to cut scar tissue blocking heart valves of rheumatic fever victims.  He subsequently operated upon six additional patients, four of whom survived.

Tragically, Dr. Smithy himself had valvular heart disease as a result of rheumatic fever during childhood, and his condition began rapidly deteriorating in 1948.  He requested a noted surgeon at The Johns Hopkins Hospital to carry out the procedure on him, but before this could be arranged, Dr. Smithy died on October 28, 1948.   Dr. Smithy's premature death deprived Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina the opportunity to become an early center for cardiac surgery.  However, from his pioneering efforts, enormous progress has been made.  Today, reliable prosthetic heart valves are widely available and surgery for valvular heart disease is standardized and carries a very low risk in most individuals.

The 2015 Horace G. Smithy Lecture is on Friday, October 16, 2015, at 4 p.m. in the MUSC James E. Clyburn Bioengineering Building, Room 110.

This year we welcome Dr. Vaughn A. Starnes as our Horace G. Smithy, Jr., M.D. Visiting Professor. Dr. Starnes is Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery, H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair and Executive Director of the CardioVascular Thoracic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. 

A recognized expert in heart and lung transplants, repair of congenital heart defects and heart surgery in children and newborns, in 1990, Dr. Starnes performed the world’s first lobar transplant using a lung segment from a living donor.  Three years later, he performed the first live-donor, double-lobar lung transplant on a patient with cystic fibrosis.  The operation involved taking lung tissue from each parent and transplanting it into their child.

As the founding executive director of the USC CardioVascular Thoracic Institute, Dr. Starnes has built an innovative, interdisciplinary powerhouse, comprised of clinicians and basic scientists who are exploring better and more innovative ways of treating heart disease.  In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Starnes is a distinguished researcher. He has an ongoing interest in many areas of research, including congenital heart disease, cadaveric and live-donor organ transplantation, coronary bypass grafting, and repair and replacement of heart valves. 

John Ikonomidis, M.D., Ph.D., Horace G. Smithy Professor and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, welcomes Dr. Starnes as this year’s Horace G. Smithy, Jr., M.D. Visiting Professor.  “Dr. Starnes has made important advances to the cardiothoracic surgery in the areas of lung transplantation, valve surgery and pediatric cardiac surgery.  His teacher, Dr. Norman Shumway, a cardiothoracic transplant pioneer at Stanford University, described him as technically the best surgeon he ever trained.”


Vaughn Starnes, MD - "Opening Doors:A Surgeon's Journey Over Thresholds"2015
Martin Elliott, MD, FRCS - "10 Commandments for Safety in the Operating Room"2014
Shafique Keshavjee, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS - "The Future of Transplantation: Personalized Medicine for the Organ"2013
Lawrence H. Cohn, MD - "How to be a Safe and Effective Surgeon"2012
Leonard Lee Bailey, MD - "Evolution of Infant Heart Transplantation"
G. Alexander Patterson, MD - "Tribal Leadership in Surgery"2010
Tirone E. David, M.D. - "Creativity in Surgery"2009
Douglas E. Wood, M.D. - " Lung Volume Reduction Surgery: Before & After NETT"2007

Irving L. Kron, M.D. - "Surgery for Heart Failure”


David A. Fullerton, M.D. - "Control of Post-Operative Pulmonary Hypertension"

D. Craig Miller, M.D. –  "What We Know and What We Don’t Know About Valve-Sparing Aortic Root Replacement"2004
Timothy  J. Gardner, M.D. –"Cardiac Surgery and the Brain—the Real Facts"2003

Barbara L. Bass, M.D. - "The New Surgical Workforce: Recruiting and Developing Women Surgeons"

James L. Cox, M.D. - "A New Approach to Artificial Heart Valves"2001

William A. Baumgartner, M.D. - "Retooling Thoracic Surgery Education"


James P. O'Leary, M.D. - "Post-Gastrectomy Syndrome: Will Another Operation Help"

Marvin Pomerantz, M.D. - "Surgical Approaches in the Treatment of  Mycobacterial Disease"1998
Douglas J. Mathisen, M.D. - "Tracheobronchoplasty for Lung Cancer"1997
Mark B. Orringer, M.D. - "Transhiatal Esophagectomy Without Thoracotomy - Avoiding and Managing Complications"1996
Robert W. Anderson, M.D. - "Managed Care and Surgery"1995

Gordon F. Murray, M.D. - "Operative Management of Esophageal Motor Disorders"


John A. Waldhausen, M.D. – "Circulatory Support and the Artificial Heart"

David C. Sabiston, Jr., M.D. - "Coronary Circulation: 1992"1992

W. Randolph Chitwood, Jr, M.D. - "The Evolution of Scientific Surgery: The Shadow of John Hunter"

William A. Gay, Jr., M.D. - "Cardiac Transplantation: Expectations and Realities"
Heber H. Newsomes, Jr., M.D. - "Adrenal Tumors"1988

Kirby I. Bland, M.D. - "Contemporary Approaches to Colorectal Cancer & Management of Hepatic Metastases"


Norman M. Rich, M.D. - "Vascular Trauma"

J. Lynwood Herrington, Jr., M.D. - "The Vagotomy Story"1985

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