Oliver Beahrs, M.D.

Honored Member Award 1988

Dr. Oliver Beahrs graduated from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago in 1942. The national and international recognition of Dr. Beahrs as an outstanding surgeon and clinician was such that when many colleagues required help in the management of their difficult surgical problems, his opinion and/or presence was requested. This included surgical procedures on Ronald Reagan when he was President of the United States. Other colleagues point to his numerous honors, his outstanding surgical skills that made his operative techniques the equivalent of virtuoso performances, and, through his prolific writings, has and will continue to benefit the lives of many patients.

Dr. Beahrs was present at a gathering of 18 people in New York on the 18th of February, 1983, at the meeting where he was unanimously and enthusiastically elected as the first President of the proposed American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA). Many knew Dr. Beahrs by his legendary reputation, but were always unprepared to meet a man who spoke so modestly and engagingly that it was relatively easy to address him as ‘‘Ollie.’’ Ollie worked hard during his two-year term of office as President of the AACA, and by championing his message that a sound knowledge of anatomy was the basis for efficient and successful surgery, got the Association off to a flying start. He also stressed the opposite view, namely that a surgeon, especially one in his/her residency and whose anatomic knowledge was deficient, was responsible for delay in the performance of the operation and a higher rate of mishaps. Ollie was a man for all seasons; he could move from a demanding operation to help clean and prepare the operating room for the next patient, and later, was able enough to entertain and delight his friends and colleagues by putting on a magic show with inordinate skill.

Of his many publications are some outstanding textbooks: Surgical Consultations: Core VolumeAn Atlas of the Surgical Techniques of Oliver H. BeahrsManual for Staging of Cancer, and Tumors of the Large Bowel.