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Anesthesiology

1969-1993

Dr. Bradley Edgerton SmithBradley Edgerton Smith, MD, became Chairman of the department effective July 1, 1969. Dr. Smith was chairman of the committee which wrote the governance document for the first organization of private medical practice at Vanderbilt (the Vanderbilt Professional Practice Program), and he was chairman of the committee which instituted the first Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation program at Vanderbilt Hospital. He established the first position for a full time “intensivist” at Vanderbilt, and in 1985, he established Vanderbilt’s first Pain Control Clinic (under Winston C.V. Parris, MB.B.Sc., D.Sc., who later was elected President of the World Society of Pain Physicians). 

As Director of the Vanderbilt Hospital Department of Respiratory Care from 1969 until 1984, Dr. Smith presided over the increase of Respiratory Care staffing from sixteen in 1969 to 67 staff, and Respiratory Care annual billings from $360,000 to $6,000,000.

During Dr. Smith’s chairmanship the Vanderbilt Anesthesiology Department published over 536 scientific and clinical reports in the medical literature. The faculty was expanded from seven full time members in 1969 to 42 in 1993. The resident staff grew from 12 to 58, and the support staff from three to 171 by 1993.

The total Department of Anesthesiology non-clinical space grew from only 900 square feet in 1969 (not including laboratories) to 15,428 in 1993, of which 5,230 square feet were well-equipped laboratories. Annual research expenditures grew from $20,000 in 1969-70 to $845,000 in 1992-93. 

During Dr. Smith’s tenure 236 physicians were trained to become anesthesiologists, and 85% of these obtained certification by the American Board of Anesthesiologists. Five who were Residents or Fellows became full Professors of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt or elsewhere; Margaret Wood, MB.BS, a former Fellow and long-serving faculty member, became Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University; Dennis Higdon, MD, rose to the rank of Major General in the Air Force Medical Department; and yet another, Winston Clive Victor Parris, MB.BS., D.MSc., was elected President of the World Society of Pain Physicians.

On March 1, 1993, Dr. Smith’s term as Chairman ended, and he was succeeded by John Julian Franks, MD, already Professor of Anesthesiology in the department, who served as Interim Chairman until the arrival of the next named chairman, Dr. Charles Beattie.

In 2008, Dr. Smith concluded his clinical practice and became professor-emeritus of the Vanderbilt Department of Anesthesiology where he continues to pursue academic and professional interests of importance to the department and the specialty. Dr. Smith’s remarkable career as a physician and leader was honored by the Department of Anesthesiology in 2010 by the establishment of a formal lectureship on medical professionalism.

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