Richard Lucas McCann, MD

2016 Master Surgeon

Richard Lucas McCann, MD, was born in Portland, Maine, in 1948. He received his undergraduate degree in 1970 from Middlebury College and his medical degree from Cornell University in 1974. That same year, Dr. McCann became an intern at Duke University under the direction of Dr. David C. Sabiston, Jr., Chair of Surgery. During his surgical training at Duke, he spent three years as a cardiovascular research fellow and finished his general surgery training in 1983. After the completion of his surgical residency, Dr. Sabiston identified Dr. McCann as a talented young surgeon and hired him as an Assistant Professor.

During his tenure at Duke, Dr. McCann became recognized as a superb surgeon in every domain. Technically, he mastered the anatomical exposure of vascular structures in all areas of the body with exceptional technical speed and efficiency. No vascular emergency was beyond his capability, and no patient or colleague was ever left without his immediate support to save both life and limb. He mastered the art of renal transplantation and participated in the first liver transplant at Duke with Drs. William Meyers and R. Randal Bollinger. In the late 1990s, when endovascular techniques revolutionized conventional vascular surgery, Dr. McCann reinvented his skills and implanted the first aortic endograft at Duke for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysm. He pioneered complex aortic surgery, using an array of both open and endovascular techniques, highlighting his surgical creativity and technical mastery.

Academically, he published more than 150 articles covering nearly every topic in vascular surgery. He served as the first chief of vascular surgery at Duke and the first program director of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship program. He mentored an entire generation of surgical residents and fellows in the art and craft of vascular surgery. As a role model with outstanding clinical judgment, he consistently provided the highest level of clinical care for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged patients. As a man of few words, he made every spoken word important. Beyond Duke, as an ambassador and humanitarian, he donated his medical and surgical talent to care for patients in Saudi Arabia, Viet Nam and, most notably, Haiti. Duke Surgery, thousands of patients, and hundreds of surgical trainees have benefited from Dr. McCann’s tireless efforts and surgical excellence. Dr. McCann rose to the rank of Professor of Surgery.

By virtue of his exceptional contributions to Duke Surgery, Dr. Richard Lucas McCann is recognized as a true Master Surgeon. This honor is bestowed to establish a living memory of an individual who has embodied the ideals of Duke Surgery, with the expectation that reflection on this illustrious career will serve as a guidepost for those aspiring to a life in the art and science of surgery.