James L. Cox Oral History Interview, August 20, 2019

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Summary

Creator:
Duke University. Medical Center. Department of Surgery.
Abstract:
Dr. James (Jimmy) L. Cox, MD, is an American cardiothoracic surgeon and medical innovator best known for the development of the Cox-Maze procedure for treatment of atrial fibrillation. He completed his residency in surgical training at Duke and joined the faculty for 5 years. This collection contains 1 oral history interview conducted on August 20, 2019 by Emily Stewart as part of the Dr. David Sabiston Oral History Project. In the interview, Cox discusses his early life; education; decision to become a surgeon; how he came to Duke for his surgical residency; experiences with Sabiston as a surgical resident, faculty member, and mentor; how Sabiston shaped his research experience at Duke; Sabiston's impeccable bedside manner; leaving Duke for Washington University; and other memories of Sabiston.
Extent:
1 Interview (1 transcript) and 8.14 MB
Collection ID:
OH.COXJ

Background

Scope and content:

Includes 1 oral history interview with Dr. James L. Cox conducted on August 20, 2019 by Emily Stewart as part of the Dr. David Sabiston Oral History Project.

In the August 20, 2019 interview, Cox discusses his early life; education; decision to become a surgeon; how he came to Duke for his surgical residency; experiences with Sabiston as a surgical resident, faculty member, and mentor; how Sabiston shaped his research experience at Duke; Sabiston's impeccable bedside manner; leaving Duke for Washington University; and other memories of Sabiston.

Biographical / historical:

Dr. James (Jimmy) L. Cox was born on December 24, 1942 in Fair Oaks, Arkansas, where he grew up on a rice farm. Cox received a baseball and basketball scholarship to the University of Mississippi, and on the day he received an offer to play professional baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers he also received his acceptance to the University of Tennessee for medical school in Memphis. Cox wanted to become a surgeon, so he chose to attend medical school over a career in baseball. He received his MD from the University of Tennessee (1967) and completed his residency in the Department of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. From 1970 to 1972, he served with the US Army medical corps and afterwards returned to Duke to complete his surgical training under Dr. David Sabiston. Cox joined the faculty at Duke as an assistant professor of surgery in 1978, and by 1982 he had advanced to the rank of associate professor of surgery at Duke.

In 1983, Cox left Duke to become Professor and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Cox held this position for 14 years. He specialized in surgeries for cardiac arrhythmias, and, in 1987, he performed his "maze" procedure, which is recognized as the first cure for atrial fibrillation. From 1990 to 1997 he was the first Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery at Washington University. In 1997, Cox accepted a position at Georgetown University in Washington, DC to become Chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

In 2000, because of knee problems, Cox gave up surgery and he retired, but he continued his active role in the field of cardiology. In 2005, Cox became Emeritus Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery at Washington University, as well as serving as chair and CEO of the World Heart Foundation. Cox was also the Medical Director for the ATS Medical division of Medtronic until 2010. Cox is a Past President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), Editor of 2 AATS journals, Past Chairman of the Residency Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery, Past Director of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and is on the Board of Directors of CTSNet and the Thoracic Foundation for Research and Education.
Cox is best known for his work in the field of cardiac arrhythmia surgery and the development of the Cox-Maze Procedure for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. In June, 2000, Cox was honored in Paris, France as one of the thirty "Pioneers in Cardiothoracic Surgery for the First 50 Years of the Specialty".

Acquisition information:
Accession A2020.058 (transferred by Mary-Russell Roberson, September 2020)
Processing information:

Processed by Lucy Waldrop: October 2020

Arrangement:
Organized into the following series: Interview, August 20, 2019.
Rules or conventions:
DACS

Subjects

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Personal Name(s):
Cox, James L., 1942-
Sabiston, David C., 1924-2009
Corporate Name(s):
Duke University. Medical Center
Duke University. Medical Center. Department of Surgery
Topical Term(s):
Faculty.
Surgeons.
Education, Medical.
Internship and Residency.

Contents

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Restrictions:

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Terms of access:

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], James L. Cox Oral History Interview, Duke University Medical Center Archives.