In memory

In memory . . . . . . of a life so beautifully lived . . . . a Heart so deeply loved.

Del Stickel, MD, Transplant Pioneer

Duke University Hospital

Delford L. Stickel, MD, professor emeritus in the Department of Surgery, passed away on May 11, 2015. Dr. Stickel was a nationally-renowned surgeon who in 1965 performed the first kidney transplant in North Carolina and at Duke.

Dr. Stickel received his undergraduate and MD degrees from Duke University. He served in the United States Navy after medical school before returning to Duke in 1953 to complete an internship in internal medicine in 1954 and residency in general and thoracic surgery in 1962. He joined the faculty of Duke in 1962 as assistant professor. Throughout his many years of service to Duke, Dr. Stickel assumed important leadership roles including director of postgraduate medical education for the School of Medicine, associate medical director of Duke University Hospital, and chief of surgery and chief of staff at the Durham VA Medical Center.

Dr. Stickel was the driving force behind North Carolina’s passage of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which established that individuals could donate their organs. He also worked with neurologists and neurosurgeons to redefine the traditional concept of death to include brain death, which transformed organ donation and organ transplantation and led to uniform national and international criteria.


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