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Remembering Richard McCann, MD, Professor of Surgery

Friday, February 5, 2021

Richard Lucas McCann, MD, Professor of Surgery, passed away on Friday, February 5. 

Dr. McCann began his nearly five-decade career at Duke University in the 1970s as an intern under the direction of Dr. David C. Sabiston Jr. During his surgical training at Duke, he spent three years as a cardiovascular research fellow in addition to his general surgery training. His reputation as a talented surgeon led to his hiring as Assistant Professor at Duke after completion of his general surgery training in 1983. 

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 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.

Dr. McCann mentored an entire generation of surgical residents and fellows in the art and craft of vascular surgery. Beyond Duke, as an ambassador and humanitarian, he donated his medical and surgical talent to care for patients in Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Haiti. Duke Surgery, thousands of patients, and hundreds of surgical trainees have benefited from Dr. McCann’s tireless efforts and surgical excellence. Dr. McCann was honored as a Duke Surgery Master Surgeon in 2016, acknowledgement of his outstanding clinical judgment and provision of the highest level of clinical care for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged patients.

Our thoughts go out to the family and many friends of Dr. McCann. The family requests that anyone who wishes to honor Dr. McCann do so by donating to Hôspital Albert Schweitzer.

Hôspital Albert Schweitzer
PO Box 110091
Pittsburgh, PA, 15232

A memorial service will be held for Dr. McCann on Saturday, October 2 at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in downtown Durham.


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