Alumni Stories

John F. Stapleton, M.D. (M’45, R’52, H’82)

Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University Medical Center
World War II Veteran

Location: Wagner Alumni House
Producer/Interviewer: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06)
Editor: Lisa Fthenakis (C’10) John F. Stapleton, M.D.

Dr. Stapleton describes the Washington, D.C., of 1942, when he arrived from Fordham University, as a “southern city.” Here, he recalls exploring the city and meeting his first cadaver. Stapleton belonged to the V-12 Navy College Training Program. While most of his class entered the Army Specialized Training Program and lived in barracks on campus, the Navy students could live off campus. When the war ended earlier than was expected, the Army and Navy assigned Stapleton to hospitals in Virginia for two years. There, he worked with patients who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. Later, Stapleton had the opportunity to work with Dr. W. Proctor Harvey and Dr. Charles Hufnagel.

In 1951, Harvey created a cardiology fellowship for which Stapleton was selected. In this interview, Stapleton tells of Harvey’s ethics and compassion for the individual, which made him “one of Georgetown’s heroes.” Stapleton recalls some of medicine’s firsts, from the heart valve replacement, to the first kidney transplant and development of the artificial kidney, to coronary angiograms, open heart surgery and bypass operations. In 1996, Stapleton authored Upward Journey: The Story of Internal Medicine at Georgetown 1851-1981, which chronicles the history of Georgetown Medicine.

Additional Resources

Georgetown University Medical Center
http://gumc.georgetown.edu/

Washington Post
“Noted Cardiologist W. Proctor Harvey”
October 17, 2007
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/16/AR2007101602178.html

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