Dr. Geoff Dunn: The Father of Surgical Palliative Care


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#017 - Join host Dr. Red Hoffman and cohost Dr. Pringl Miller as they interview Dr. Geoff Dunn, the father of the Surgical Palliative Care Movement. Geoff is a fourth generation surgeon, a second generation hospice medical director (his father was also both a surgeon and a hospice medical director!) and an artist. Along with Dr. Bob Milch, Geoff is responsible for starting the integration of the concept of palliative medicine into the work of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the largest surgical organization in the country. As he shares in this episode, at the ACS Clinical Congress in 1997, he was invited by Dr. Tom Krizek to address a large gathering of surgeons during a symposium focused on physician-assisted suicide. As he approached the microphone, Tom whispered to him, "You have ten minutes to change surgery... Don't mess it up!" Geoff took this to heart and over the next two decades he worked tirelessly to integrate palliative medicine into surgical practice through chairing the ACS Committee on Surgical Palliative Care, writing countless articles, editing numerous books, speaking at numerous conferences, and - perhaps most importantly - never preaching! As a lover of history, Geoff has tirelessly documented the history of the Surgical Palliative Care movement, most recently in a chapter of the Surgical Palliative Care textbook (link below). As a lover of art and literature, Geoff has often utilized in his quest to better explain palliative medicine to surgeons, most memorably by comparing the Family Conference to a surgical procedure in which we "Prepare, Do and Close." Despite all of his achievements, Geoff remains humble, heart-centered and human. Listen and enjoy learning the history of the Surgical Palliative Care Movement!
To read more by Geoff Dunn:
Surgical Palliative Care- Along with Anne Mosenthal, Geoff served as co-editor and also authored a chapter highlighting how surgeons have been involved in palliation since the beginning of the profession.
Surgical Clinics of North America- Geoff edited the 2011 edition focused on Surgical Palliative Care. The 2019 edition, edited by Pringl Miller, can be found here.

Surgical Palliative Care: A Resident's Guide
- Geoff served as one of the co-editors of this extremely useful (and free) guide to providing palliative care to surgical patients.
In this article, Geoff discusses the history of surgical palliative care and the American College of Surgeons.
To learn more about the surgical palliative care community, visit us on twitter @surgpallcare.

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