Stanley John Dudrick, M.D., of Eaton Center, N.H., passed away peacefully at home early Saturday morning, Jan. 18, 2020, after a long and stubborn battle with multiple medical issues.
Born in the coal mining town of Nanticoke, Pa., on April 9, 1935, to Stanley and Stephanie Jachimczak Dudrick, Stanley first visited the Eaton area in the late 1960s and fell in love soon after purchasing and “restoring” the old Ellis place in Snowville.
He was widely recognized and respected throughout the scientific, academic and clinical world for his innovative and pioneering research in the development of the specialized central venous feeding technique known as intravenous total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
He was most proud of his country roots and traditional American values. Described as one of the four most significant accomplishments in the history of the development of modern surgery, together with the discovery and development of asepsis and antisepsis, antibiotic therapy and anesthesia, TPN has been acknowledged as one of the three most important advancements in surgery during the past century, along with open heart surgery and organ transplantation.
The basic and clinical research and applications of Dr. Dudrick’s nutritional and metabolic contributions led to the establishment of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition in 1977, which has become the foremost learned nutritional body of expertise in the country spawning more than 230 comparable professional societies worldwide with tens of thousands of members.
Dr. Dudrick was also instrumental to the founding of the Oley Foundation, a support group for TPN patients that now boasts over 40,000 members. It has been estimated that TPN is responsible for saving over 10 million infant lives in the United States alone since its inception and has salvaged the lives of tens of millions of infants, children and adults worldwide who cannot eat, will not eat or should not eat.
Stanley was a remarkably humble and approachable man known for his charming charisma and sincere compassion and care for all those whom he encountered. He earned a B.S. cum laude with biology honors in 1957 from Franklin and Marshall College, then his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
He then completed general surgery residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, then joined the UPenn faculty, ascending in rank from instructor to professor of surgery in five years, serving as chairman of surgery at the Philadelphia VA.
In 1972, he was recruited to Houston as the first professor and founding chairman of the department of surgery at the new University of Texas Medical School at Houston, concurrently serving as professor of surgery at the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Cancer Center.
In 1975, he founded the first helicopter acute care ambulance service in the United States, LifeFlight. Prior to LifeFlight, aircraft were used exclusively as transport only. In 1988, he was appointed as chairman of the Department of Surgery of Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital.
In 1994, he was recruited to Yale University Medical School as professor of surgery, and program director in surgery, then chairman, of the department of surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital/Yale Affiliate in Waterbury, Conn. Yale granted him a master of arts honoris causa in 1999.
In 2000-03, he was chairman of surgery at Bridgeport Hospital, where he helped integrate it with the Yale/New Haven Health System. In 2009, the Stanley J. Dudrick, M.D., Department of Surgery was designated in his honor by Saint Mary’s Hospital. In 2011, he joined Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., as the first Robert S. Anderson, M.D., endowed chair, professor and medical director of the physician assistant studies program.
In 2012, he was elected professor emeritus of surgery at Yale. Since 2013, he also served as professor of surgery at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton, Pa.
A fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 1970, he received its Jacobson Innovation Award in 2005.
He had more than 800 publications and held membership in more than 100 academic, professional, and honorary medical and scientific societies; his more than 210 honors and awards include the AMA Joseph B. Goldberger Award in Clinical Nutrition; the AMA Brookdale Award in Medicine; decorated Knight Hospitalier of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem; the Southern Medical Association Seale Harris Medal; the American Academy of Pediatrics Ladd Medal; the American College of Nutrition Goldsmith Award; the first Flance/Karl Award of the American Surgical Association.
In 2007, the University of Pennsylvania Medical School awarded him the Distinguished Graduate Award, and he was awarded the President’s Medal by F&M College. In 2009, he received the American Surgical Association Medallion for Scientific Achievement for Distinguished Service to Surgery, its highest honor. In 2010, Misericordia University vested him with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
In 2012, the Stanley J. Dudrick Hospital was dedicated in his honor in Skawina, Poland. In 2013, Franklin and Marshall College awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Science and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston awarded him its highest medal and established the annual Stanley J. Dudrick, M.D., lectureship at its 40th anniversary.
He also received the Distinguished Service Award of The Society of Surgical Oncology. In 2014, the American College of Surgeons honored him with a video presentation as one of the “Heroes of American Surgery.” In 2016, he was cited by Medscape as one of the “Fifty Most Influential Physicians in History.”
Stanley is survived by his wife of 61 years, Theresa, who resides at their Crystal Lake property in Eaton; six children, 16 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
The family is very grateful for the area community and all the cherished friends and memories they have and continue to provide. Most special gratitude and appreciation to New Hampshire State Trooper John Harris and Sgt. Nate Johnston, the Freedom Fire Department and Care Plus Ambulance of North Conway, and Charlie Sutton of Furber and White Funeral Home.
Stanley will be taken home for services at St. Faustina Parish in Nanticoke, Pa., where he was baptized and received first communion with a viewing from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24. Mass to follow at 11 a.m. on Saturday, with reception at the Wyoming Valley Country Club. A local memorial service will be announced at a future time.