Claude Organ, Jr, MD | Surgery | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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Special Article
November 1, 2005

Claude Organ, Jr, MD

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Royal College of Surgeons of England, London.

Arch Surg. 2005;140(11):1047-1048. doi:10.1001/archsurg.140.11.1047

Dr Claude Organ’s international reputation was awesome. He traveled widely and was always welcome in the four corners of the globe. His many friends in Australia, Africa, Asia, and the United Kingdom remember the thoughtfulness with which he assessed the problems presented to him and the quiet authority with which he gave his opinion. He could be direct, but he had an engaging way of using humor to sweeten the pill.

It was clear that throughout his career, Dr Organ set high standards for himself and his residents, and, despite his belief in affirmative action to assist African American students to gain access to medical school, he would treat all of his trainees in a like manner. Ethnicity was not a good reason for failing to reach the standards set by him.

Dr Organ was a much-loved visitor to the United Kingdom. In 1999, he was invited to tour England, Scotland, and Wales as the British Journal of Surgery Traveling Fellow for the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, London, England. His task was to review our surgical training, our examinations, and the role of women in surgery. He presented a detailed and incisive report to the Association of Surgeons in Cardiff, Wales. In 2000, he received the honorary fellowship of the association. In 2001, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, London, and in 2002, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Dr Organ was a man with tremendous insight borne of years of experience. His wonderful use of words was derived from a sound classical foundation and evolved into a memorable list of quotable quotes. When describing the difference between general surgeons and specialists, he observed: “Why is heparin so effective from midnight to 7 AM?” and “Humility in surgery is only 1 bad case away.”

On behalf of his many friends in the United Kingdom and around the world, we pay tribute to his great leadership and vision for surgery, which transcends all of the continents and has its basis in the maintenance of the highest standards of surgery.

Claude was devoted to his wife Betty and his family, who meant everything to him. His passing will leave a huge void in their lives.

Correspondence: Bernard F. Ribeiro, CBE, PRCS, Royal College of Surgeons of England, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PE, England (

Accepted for Publication: August 31, 2005.