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Biographical entry Churchill, Edward Delos (1895 - 1972)

Hon FRCS 1948; ME 1920.

Chenoa, Illinois, USA
28 August 1972
Belmont, USA
Thoracic surgeon


Edward Delos Churchill was born in Chenoa, Illinois, in 1895. In 1920 he graduated from Harvard Medical School and spent the next four years at the Massachusetts General Hospital. For the next three years he was a Dalton Scholar with Cecil Drinker, and then held a Moseley Travelling Fellowship, which enabled him to spend a year with Krogh in Copenhagen.

He returned to the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1927 and joined the full-time department of surgery. He channelled his investigative talents into the field of cardiopulmonary physiology and shock, and his clinical interests into thoracic surgery. In 1928 he moved his laboratories to the Boston City Hospital as part of an effort to create a full-time surgical counterpart of the Thorndike memorial. Two years later he returned to the Massachusetts General Hospital, and in 1931 he became Homans Professor and chief, and he held this position until his retirement in 1962.

In 1943 he went overseas as colonel and surgical consultant to the North African-Mediterranean Theatre of Operations, and won a Distinguished Service Medal at the end of the second world war.

In 1946 he served as President of. the American Surgical Association and there presented his historic analysis of intellectual trends in surgery under the title of Science and humanism. In 1948 he was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. In 1972 he published the classic Surgeon to soldiers. A diary and records of the Surgical Consultant Allied Forces Headquarters, World War II.

In 1962 Churchill retired from the hospital and university, but was available in an advisory role at his home in Belmont. He became interested in the history of wound management, particularly military, and devoted his time to his study and his farm, and enjoyed the companionship of his wife Mary and their four children, and grandchildren.

On 28 August 1972 enjoying a long walk on his farm, he was stricken with a fatal cardiovascular attack.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Ann Surg 1973, 177, 507-8; New Eng J Med 1973, 288 792-3; J thorac cardiovasc Surg 1973, 66, 153-5].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England