fbpx

In memoriam: Jeremiah Turcotte, M.D.

obitpic1

The medical and transplant community is mourning the recent loss of Jeremiah Turcotte, M.D.

Dr. Turcotte was a trailblazer in the field of organ donation and transplantation, recognized across the country as a visionary leader. He passed on Feb. 12, 2020, at the age of 87.

Dr. Turcotte was one of five transplant surgeons directly responsible for creating Gift of Life Michigan. He and four other surgeons, known fondly as “The Brighton Five,” met at a coffee shop in Brighton, MI, in 1971 to determine how to get more organs to more patients who needed them. Until then, the field of organ donation and transplantation was not cohesive; individual surgeons worked independently to find donors and organs for their patients.

Their idea focused on collaboration and teamwork and eventually became Gift of Life Michigan, the second oldest organ procurement organization in the country. Since its founding in 1971, GOLM has helped save tens of thousands of lives in the state, across the country and abroad.

Dr. Turcotte was successful long before then. He enjoyed a distinguished career at the University of Michigan, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate of medicine. He was the 12th Chairman of the Department of Surgery, serving from 1974-1987, and the second Frederick A. Coller Professor of Surgery, from 1978-1989.

Dr. Turcotte was a founder of the Surgical Transplant Program and served as director from 1964-1984; he then served as the director of the Organ Transplantation Center from 1984-1996. As chairman, he dramatically modernized and expanded the Department of Surgery to attract the most qualified staff and make it respected for advancements in clinical and laboratory research. He also played an important role in replacing the original University Hospital.

In 1964, as a 31-year-old first-year faculty member, Dr. Turcotte performed the first organ transplant, a kidney, in the state of Michigan. In 1985, he performed the first liver transplant at Michigan as well.

Dr. Turcotte also served as Director of the American Board of Surgery, a Governor of the American College of Surgeons, and President of the Central Surgical Association, the Coller Surgical Society, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, and the United Network for Organ Sharing.

In 1970, he received Michigan’s Henry Russel Award for Distinguished Achievement in Scholarly Research, and in 2004, the Medical Center Alumni Society Distinguished Service Award. In 2002, the Department of Surgery named its library the Jeremiah G. Turcotte, M.D. Surgical Library. In 2005, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons honored him with the Pioneer Award.

You can read more about his life, accomplishments and funeral services here.

Read More Posts
More than 100 staff at Munson Medical Center gathered to celebrate their upcoming Hospital of the Year Award - many of them came in on their day off to join the celebration.

Munson Medical Center Named Hospital of the Year by Gift of Life Michigan

Munson’s John Stanifer, MD and ICU Manager, Eric Jean also to be recognized. Gift of…

Read More
children holding hands

Can a Living Person Donate a Liver?

The liver is an important organ. It filters toxins out of your blood. You can’t…

Read More

Can You Donate Your Placenta?

The placenta is a one-of-a-kind organ that plays a significant role in pregnancy. It assists…

Read More
A happy family

What Tissue can be Donated?

There are several tissues that one can donate to save lives. This includes cornea, tendons,…

Read More
Dr. Bedi, Rachel Kuntzsch and Sarah Scantamburlo are new Gift of Life Governing Board members

Gift of Life Michigan announces new board members

New board members will bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table Gift of Life…

Read More
2023 was a record year for Gift of Life Michigan with 578 organ donors and 1,858 tissue donors

Gift of Life Michigan smashes record for organ donors in 2023

More than 213,000 people join Donor Registry Gift of Life Michigan helped a record 578…

Read More
Scroll to Top