Alumni Stories

Linda Kildea, R.N. (H’84)

Georgetown University Hospital

Location: Fairmont Hotel, Washington D.C. John Carroll Weekend 2010
Interviewer/Producer: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06)
Editor: Lisa Fthenakis (C’10) Linda Kildea

As a longtime employee of Georgetown University Hospital, Kildea has been a firsthand witness to medical history. Kildea met her husband, a dental student, at Georgetown. The Kildeas are a true Hoya family. In the 1950s, Kildea was assistant to the legendary Dr. Charles Hufnagel, one of America’s most gifted surgeons and a pioneer in the surgical treatment of heart and great vessel disorders. While Hufnagel was inventing the first artificial heart valve and making enormous strides in kidney transplantation, Kildea was a head nurse in his operating room.

Kildea was trained as a clinical perfusionist, a role that required her to operate the heart-lung machine during cardiac surgery. Here, she recalls that people came from across the world for treatment from Hufnagel and his medical team. She was a part of the team that traveled to Panama, Copenhagen and Italy to train other surgeons. In this interview, she fondly remembers working for Hufnagel and reflects on the early days of open heart surgery and the great strides that have been made in the field of medicine.

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