Campus & Community

McDermott, professor of surgery, dies at 84

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William V. McDermott Jr. ’38, HMS ’42, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and former chairman of Harvard surgical services, died in Dedham on July 19. He was 84.

McDermott was a world-renowned specialist in liver disorders and was credited with bringing liver transplantation to Boston, in addition to his many other advances in the field.

Among his patients and colleagues, McDermott was praised for his abilities in diagnosis, research, teaching, and surgical prowess. He published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, in addition to eight books of his own, and chapters in 12 others.

Following graduation from Harvard College in 1938, McDermott entered HMS, graduating in 1942. After a wartime service in the U.S. Army’s first mobile army surgical hospital (M.A.S.H.) unit, chronicled in his memoir, “A Surgeon in Combat,” McDermott returned to training at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his first appointment to the HMS faculty as an instructor in surgery in 1951. McDermott was named the Cheever Professor of Surgery Emeritus in 1963.

McDermott headed the Harvard departments of surgery at Boston City Hospital and the New England (now Beth Israel) Deaconess Hospital, successively, until his retirement in 1985. He was a member of the Harvard Club of Boston for nearly 50 years and was on its board of governors for six years. McDermott received the Harvard Medal in 1993 for his contributions to the University.

HMS has endowed a surgery chair in his name.

A memorial service will be held at the Memorial Church on Friday, Sept. 28, at noon.