Fred A. Crawford Oral History Interview, May 22, 2019

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Summary

Creator:
Crawford, Fred A., Jr., 1942- and Duke University. Medical Center. Department of Surgery.
Abstract:
Dr. Fred A. Crawford, MD, attended Duke University for undergraduate and Duke University School of Medicine for medical school. Crawford's residency at Duke was interrupted by the Vietnam War, where he served in the United States Army as a surgeon. Afterwards, he returned to Duke and completed his residency. Crawford served as Chief of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Mississippi (1976-1979) and Professor and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (1979-2009). This collection contains 1 oral history interview conducted on May 22, 2019 by Taylor Patterson as part of the Dr. David Sabiston Oral History Project. In the interview Crawford discusses his early life and education, his experience at Duke University and Duke University School of Medicine, working for Dr. Will C. Sealy, memories of Dr. David and Agnes Sabiston, his residency, leaving his residency at Duke to serve in the Army during the Vietnam War, and his career after Duke at the University of Mississippi and the Medical University of South Carolina as a thoracic surgeon.
Extent:
1 Interview (1 transcript) and 3.02 MB
Collection ID:
OH.CRAWFORDF

Background

Scope and content:

Includes 1 oral history interview with Dr. Fred A. Crawford conducted on May 22, 2019 by Taylor Patterson as part of the Dr. David Sabiston Oral History Project.
In the Mary 22, 2019 interview, Crawford discusses his early life and education, his experience at Duke University and Duke University School of Medicine, working for Dr. Will C. Sealy, memories of Dr. David and Agnes Sabiston, his residency, leaving his residency at Duke to serve in the Army during the Vietnam War, and his career after Duke at the University of Mississippi and the Medical University of South Carolina as a thoracic surgeon.

Biographical / historical:

Dr. Fred A. Crawford, MD, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, on October 17, 1942. He was the only child of Scotch-Irish parents who were both educators. His mother was a grammar school principal and his father was a high school principal. Crawford attended Duke University as an undergraduate for 3 years but started medical school before he had enough credits for his undergraduate degree. At the end of his first year of medical school Dr. David C. Sabiston, MD, arrived from Johns Hopkins as the new Chairman of Surgery and developed a top notch surgical residency and training program for future department chairs and division chiefs of that era. While in medical school, Crawford credits the opportunity to work in the laboratory with Dr. Will C. Sealy for 3 summers as the most important influence on his career, as he was taught the importance of mentoring. Crawford graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 1967.
Crawford's residency was during the Vietnam War, and at the end of 2 years, he entered the United States Army and served 2 years as a surgeon, including 1 year as a trauma surgeon with the rank of major at the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam. He returned to Duke in 1971 and completed a residency in both general and cardiothoracic surgery in June 1976.
Crawford served as Chief of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Mississippi from 1976 to 1979. During this time, he performed all cases of congenital heart surgery in the state of Mississippi. In 1979, he became Professor and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), a position that he held for the next 30 years until July 2009, when he stepped down but remained on the faculty as a Distinguished University Professor. For 19 years (1988-2007), he was also the Horace Smithy Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at MUSC. During his tenure at MUSC, he trained more than 80 general surgical and 38 cardiothoracic surgical residents.
Crawford's clinical interests included valve surgery and congenital heart surgery, as well as arrhythmia surgery for both children and adults. In the mid-1980s, he collaborated with Dr Paul Gillette, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at MUSC, and for a number of years he performed more arrhythmia surgical procedures in infants and children than were done anywhere else in the world.
Crawford authored and coauthored more than 260 publications in peer-reviewed journals. One of his most important contributions is in the area of surgical education. He was a residency program director for 30 years and served on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery for 10 years including 2 years as chair, as well as on the Thoracic Surgery Residency Review Committee. Crawford was the first chair of the Joint Council on Thoracic Surgery Education, served on the editorial board of "The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery", and was editor of "Operative Techniques in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery". He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Duke University School of Medicine (2003) and the MUSC Honorary Alumnus Award (2009). In 2007, he received the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian honor for service. In 2008, MUSC opened the Ashley River Tower, a facility designed specifically for the treatment of cardiovascular and digestive disease. As a tribute to Crawford's contributions to MUSC, the operating suites within the Ashley River Tower are named for him.
Crawford is married to Mary Jane, and they have 2 children.

Acquisition information:
Accession A2019.106 (transferred by Mary-Russell Roberson, December 2019)
Processing information:

Processed by Lucy Waldrop: December 2019

Arrangement:
Organized into the following series: Interview, May 22, 2019.
Rules or conventions:
DACS

Contents

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Restrictions:

None.

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], Fred A. Crawford Oral History Interview, Duke University Medical Center Archives.