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Peter A. Volpe MD, FACS, FASCRS (1936-2021)

DEBEMBER 17, 1936 – May 14, 2021

Peter Anthony Volpe was born in Columbus, Ohio on December 17, 1936. He was an enterprising boy who would make money mowing lawns, then travel by streetcar from his hometown of Worthington to downtown Columbus, where he would spend his earnings on toy trains at the popular Lazarus department store. He followed his father into a medical career, completing his pre-med studies and medical school at Ohio State University. After an internship in Milwaukee, Dr Volpe was drafted into the Navy. He was a General Medical Officer, serving aboard the Admiral’s flagship during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dr. Volpe did his residency in general surgery at UCSF, under Dr. Dunphy, and also spent one year of the residency in London. Dr. Blaisdell, a mentor and lifelong friend, recognized Peter’s admirable judgment, calling him “one of the best men we have trained.” He served an apprenticeship in colorectal surgery with the founders of a practice he later joined and managed for many years. A partner described him as having “built the practice on the basic principles of always putting the patients’ well-being first, being inclusive, being a good listener, and with compassion and humility.” Patient care was Dr. Volpe’s top concern, but he also offered his keen judgment and administrative skills to running the surgical partnership. He served on the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons, and as president of both the

American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Peter was treasured by his patients, who continued to correspond with him long into his retirement. One patient wrote him in gratitude for “the good care you provided when I needed it and, in a far broader and more important sense, for having mastered your profession so splendidly and for having brought your highly developed skills to bear on behalf of so many for so long.” Dr. Volpe enjoyed a happy retirement playing golf, playing poker, tending his spectacular garden, and developing his incredible model railroad layout, a lifelong pursuit. His passion for the Ohio State University and their athletic teams was ferocious.
The world will be a poorer place without Dr. Volpe’s humor, his calm presence, and his good judgment. He will be missed by all.

Adapted from the article published by San Francisco Chronicle from May 21 to May 23, 2021.

Eric Bradley Jelin Passes Away (1978-2021)

We are saddened to announce the unexpected passing of a member of our Naffziger Society, Eric Jelin.  A native of New York City, Eric finished his general surgery residency at UCSF in 2013 and went on to pediatric surgery fellowship at Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC.  He became assistant professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins after finishing fellowship and was the director of the Fetal Surgery Program at the Johns Hopkins Children’s center.  He is survived by his wife, Angie Child Jelin, who also trained at UCSF in OB-Gyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and two children, Max and Kyra. May Eric rest in peace.

F. William Blaisdell, MD, Past Naffziger Society President, Passes Away

F. William Blaisdell, MD

The Naffziger Society mourns the passing of F. William Blaisdell, MD (1927-2020) who served as President of the Society from 2010-11. Dr. Blaisdell was a true giant of American surgery and one of the most influential figures in the history of the UCSF Department of Surgery.

F. William Blaisdell was born in 1927 and grew up in nearby Watsonville, California. He came from a family of physicians: both of his grandfathers, as well as his father and uncle were doctors. Blaisdell attended Stanford University for his undergraduate and medical school education. He completed his internship at Philadelphia General Hospital and 2 years of military service with the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He completed his surgery residency at Stanford, which at the time was clinically based in San Francisco, at both the San Francisco General Hospital and the Presbyterian Hospital (now part of CPMC). He spent one year of training during his residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital under Francis Moore, and an additional year of postgraduate training with Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley in Houston.

In 1960 Dr. Blaisdell started his first faculty position as Chief of the Surgical Service at the San Francisco VA Hospital. In 1966 he became Chief of Surgery at San Francisco General Hospital. Under Blaisdell’s leadership, the Surgical Service at SFGH would become the pre-eminent Trauma Surgery program in the country. In 1968, Blaisdell formally established the Trauma Surgery service at SFGH, which would become the model for urban trauma surgery systems worldwide. Blaisdell also oversaw the development and modernization of Emergency Services, Outpatient Surgery Clinics, and the Intensive Care Unit at SFGH, transforming the concept of the safety-net hospital and forever changing the care of San Francisco’s most vulnerable populations.

Blaisdell built the Surgical Research program at SFGH, and throughout his career made many contributions to the investigation of trauma, critical care, and vascular surgery. He was the first surgeon to perform axillo-femoral bypass for patients with occlusive aorto-iliac disease, and was a thought leader in the early research on ARDS and trauma coagulopathy.

One of Dr. Blaisdell’s most important legacies was his long list of trainees, comprised of many future leaders of the UCSF Department of Surgery and of American surgery as a whole. A partial list of Blaisdell trainees from his time leading the SFVA and SFGH includes Robert Lim, Robert Allen, Lawrence Way, George Sheldon, Ted Schrock, Don Trunkey, Brent Eastman, Jerry Goldstone, Frank Lewis, Orlo Clark, Tom Russell, Cliff and Karen Deveney, and Bill Schecter. Blaisdell was also an early advocate for women in surgery; one of his first acts as Chief of Surgery at SFGH was to hire Muriel Steele to a faculty position, making her the first female surgeon in the history of that hospital.

In 1978 Dr. Blaisdell became the Chair of Surgery at UC Davis, where he continued his distinguished career until his retirement in 2002. He served as President of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma in 1991, and was the recipient of one of the American College of Surgeons’ highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award, in 2002. Even after leaving SFGH, Dr. Blaisdell kept close ties with his former colleagues and trainees in San Francisco. He was a loyal mentor and friend to many UCSF Department of Surgery members and he will be dearly missed.

A biography of Dr. Blaisdell written by Dr. Robert Lim can be found here. A book by Dr. William Schecter and colleagues, “The History of the Surgical Service at San Francisco General Hospital,” found here, also contains many wonderful stories about the Blaisdell years at SFGH.

We will be forever grateful to Dr. Blaisdell for the lasting impact he had on the advancement of surgery, not only in San Francisco, but around the world.

Dr. Donald D. Trunkey, Renowned Trauma Surgeon and Former Chief of Surgery at SFGH, Passes Away at 81

Dr. Donald D. Trunkey

The UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society is saddened to report the recent passing of our friend and colleague, Dr. Donald Trunkey, who passed away at the age of 81 several days ago.

Dr. Trunkey was an internationally renowned trauma surgeon and is considered the father of modern trauma systems. He served as Chief of Surgery at San Francisco General Hospital from 1978 until 1986. He was then appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the OHSU School of Medicine, a position he held until 2001. 

Following a first-year internship at the University of Oregon School of Medicine and a two-year stint in Germany as a general medical officer in the U.S. Army, Dr. Trunkey completed his general surgery training at UCSF in 1971. Dr. Trunkey returned to UCSF a year later after an NIH fellowship as a member of the faculty, pursuing a career in trauma surgery. He served as Chief of the Burn Center at San Francisco General and established a laboratory to study mechanisms of shock at the cellular level. Dr. Trunkey was a founding member of the Homeland Security Department as well as the National Foundation for Trauma Care. He served as Chair of The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and helped establish the Advanced Trauma Life Support Course. His dedication is to the field is captured in Dr. Trunkey: An Advocate for Injured Patients, a Legend in Trauma Care

Dr. Trunkey was a towering figure on the Trauma Service at San Francisco General. His yeoman service, innovation, and leadership at the General were memorialized by Dr. William Schechter, Professor Emeritus at UCSF, in The History of The Surgical Service at San Francisco General Hospital, “The Trunkey Years, 1978-1986”.  

Dr. Trunkey served in the first Gulf War in 1991, stationed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. His commentary in the March 1993 edition of Archives of Surgery, “Lessons Learned,” served as a model for how U.S. Department of Defense trauma personnel are trained today.

Dr. Peggy Knudson, one of Dr. Trunkey’s protégés, currently Professor of Surgery at UCSF and Medical Director for the Military Health System (MHS) Strategic-ACS Partnership, recalled his outsized influence on her career: 

“Dr. Donald Trunkey was a father figure to me in my professional life. He encouraged me to dedicate my career to the care of the injured back in the day when trauma surgery as a discipline was still in its infancy. I had the great privilege of traveling and teaching with him across Australia and again in Germany where he worked tirelessly to assure the highest care possible for injured American troops. Trunkey as a figure was larger than life and the news of his passing has saddened the trauma community around the world.” 

The UCSF Naffziger Society community has lost a great friend and colleague. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues. 

Thomas K. Hunt, MD, Professor Emeritus of Surgery, Friend and Distinguished Colleague, Dead at the Age of 88

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Dr. Thomas Hunt, Professor Emeritus of Surgery at UCSF and a Naffziger Society member, who has died at the age of 88. 

Although retired, Dr. Hunt’s towering presence was still felt. He was a fixture of UCSF Department of Surgery Grand Rounds and a regular attendee at the annual J. Engelbert Dunphy Resident Research Symposium.

Thomas K. Hunt, MD was an internationally renowned and highly respected surgeon, professor and researcher. “TK” or “Papa Tom,” as he was known by colleagues and family, was a general surgeon at the UCSF from 1964 until 2001. He was best known for helping develop the trauma unit at San Francisco General Hospital and for his research on the cellular biology of wound healing. His easy-to-implement ideas shaped the standard of care for the prevention of infections after surgery. 

After graduating from medical school in 1956, Dr. Hunt did his internship at Boston City Hospital under famed surgeon J. Englebert Dunphy MD, then was drafted into the US Army where he served as a medical officer. He followed Dunphy to the University of Oregon and completed his residency there in 1964; then did a year-long research fellowship in Glasgow, Scotland, where he worked on methods to infuse hyperbaric oxygen into tissue to aid the healing of surgical wounds.

Dr. Hunt joined the staff at UCSF in 1965, where he also became Director of the Wound Healing Laboratory in the Department of General Surgery and Vice Chairman for Research Affairs for the Department of Surgery. In addition, he was an adjunct professor of surgery at Ohio State University and a consulting surgeon at the University of Tübingen in Germany. He was also the founding President of the Wound Healing Society, served on the Board of Directors of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society and as President of the American Trauma Society, and received countless honors from universities and organizations across the globe.

Dr. Hunt taught surgery in Southeast Asia for the James IV Association of Surgeons. While in Vietnam, the State Department appointed him Civilian Chief of Surgery for one Saigon hospital and he got out just weeks before the fall of the city.

More importantly, patients knew Dr. Hunt as a compassionate and understanding physician with a calm and caring bedside manner. Colleagues often described him as brilliant, yet modest. Research was one of Dr. Hunt’s passions and he loved teaching residents and fellows in his lab at UCSF until he closed it in 2003. That laboratory produced more than 425 research papers and his works are cited in more than 20,000 others according to Research Gate. He also co-authored four books on the healing of wounds.

“Tom Hunt was a giant in the world of wound healing,” said Annette Wysocki, past president of the Wound Healing Society. “Equally as important as the research and teaching that Tom did, was the way he provided mentorship and inclusivity to the next generation of junior postdocs, faculty and scholars.”

There is no memorial planned at this time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Union of Concerned Scientists or the Lewy Body Dementia Association

Dr. Hunt’s full obituary can found online here, where photos can be uploaded and condolences posted honoring his memory.

TK Hunt was the reason I went to UCSF for surgery training. He fostered an environment that helped young surgeon scientist. We will all miss him. @UCSFSurgery @WomenSurgeons #mentorship— Sareh Parangi,MD (@SarehParangiMD) March 2, 2019

Robert E. Allen, Jr., MD, Friend and Distinguished Colleague, Dies at 83

Robert E. Allen, Jr., MD

Robert E. Allen, Jr., MD (’69), our esteemed colleague, and for many years, an attending surgeon at Mount Zion Hospital (now UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion), has passed away at the age of 83.

Dr. Allen, originally recruited to UCSF by Dr. J. Engelbert Dunphy, was a surgical oncologist who specialized in in melanoma surgery. He was the first African-American Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), serving as a distinguished faculty member for over four decades.

Among his legion of friends and trusted colleagues are Dr. Haile Debas, Chancellor of UCSF from 1997-98 and Dr. William Blaisdell, former Chief of Surgery at SFGH “the General” (now Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center).

Robert was a cofounder of the Northern California Melanoma Center, along with his friend and trusted colleague, Dr. Lynn E. Spitler, and other surgeons. Dr. Allen participated in the group’s weekly consulting panel and performed surgery on the Center’s patients until his retirement. He was a skillful and dedicated surgeon.

Robert always wanted to be a doctor. He realized his dream and became a highly dedicated professional in the pursuit of excellence. He received the Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Florida A&M University, the Masters of Science degree in Genetics from Michigan State University, and the doctorate of Medicine from Meharry Medical College.

Dr. Allen completed his general surgery residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and was a fellow in Surgery Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Robert went on to complete two additional postdoctoral fellowships, one in surgery at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the other in peripheral vascular research at San Francisco General Hospital.

In the book, The History of the Surgical Service at San Francisco General Hospital, it was noted that Dr. Allen was a fellow in trauma, training under the noted surgeon F. William Blaisdell, MD, a former President of the UCSF Naffziger Society, and organized the ambulance paramedic program.

“During the initial years of Blaisdell’s tenure, his NIH grant in Cerebrovascular Disease, which had been used to start the vascular fellowship at the VA, continued at SFGH. The fellows served as junior attendings and helped follow the vascular cases. Lou Buscaglia, who completed his UC chief residency in June 1968, came with Blaisdell as a vascular surgery fellow. Peter Braunstein and Tom Maxwell provided additional staff support as fellows in the years 1968-1970. The last clinical fellow was Robert Allen—Bob was essentially a fellow in trauma, as his year was spent organizing the ambulance paramedic program.”

Dr. Allen authored many articles for medical periodicals, and wrote chapters in an array of medical publications. He was a member of various honor societies and he held numerous professional memberships. Robert traveled the world speaking at medical conventions throughout the United States and Europe. He vacationed in Europe, Africa, Asia, Fiji and the Caribbean. He prided himself in teeing off on golf courses around the world. Robert also loved western movies and sailing on his 47ft sailboat “Dark Passage” in the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Dr. Allen’s presence will be sorely missed. He was a wonderful friend and colleague.

Read the full obituary of Dr. Robert E. Allen, Jr.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations to honor the memory of Dr. Robert E. Allen, Jr. be made in his name to support the UCSF Department of Surgery’s mission.


To make donations online, please visit
Check the box: “This contribution is in honor or memory of someone”
Then follow the prompts.

Via U.S. Mail

Please make checks out to the UCSF Foundation.
On the memo line of the check (or an attached sheet of paper) write:
“Department of Surgery (B0605) – In memory of Robert E. Allen, Jr., MD”

Please email the check to:
P.O. Box 45339
San Francisco, CA 94145-0339

Robert “Bob” Spalding Seipel, M.D Passes Away at 92

Robert “Bob” Spalding Seipel, M.D.

The UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society is saddened to announce the passing of our esteemed colleague Robert “Bob” Spalding Seipel, M.D., a former past President of the Society in 1990-91.

Bob attended the UCSF School of Medicine where he earned his M.D. in 1955. He later completed his general surgery residency at UCSF, graduating as Chief Resident in 1963. He joined the well-known general surgeon Dr. Allen Johnson that same year in private practice in San Jose. Bob retired from the practice of medicine in 1992.

Widely respected and well-liked by doctors and nurses at San Jose Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital and then-Santa Teresa Hospital, Bob was beloved by his many patients. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and member of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association and San Jose Surgical Society.

All of us at Naffziger will miss him!

View Obituary in San Francisco Chronicle

Stories, anecdotes and tributes to Dr. Seipel may be posted at the online memorial for Robert S. Seipel, M.D. The family has asked that donations in his name be made to the UCSF General Surgery Residency training program. This can be done online by clicking on this link:

Donations to General Surgery Resident Fund
(There is an option in step 2 to indicate the gift is in memory of someone.)

Via U.S. Mail Please make checks out to the UCSF Foundation.
On the memo line of the check or attached piece of paper, please write:

“General Surgery Resident Fund/B1623 in memory of Dr. Robert Seipel.”

Please email contributions to:

P.O. Box 45339
San Francisco, CA 94145-0339

Theodore R. Schrock, M.D., Former Naffziger President and UCSF Department of Surgery Chair, Dies at 76

Theodore R. Schrock, M.D.

Theodore R. Schrock, M.D., who had a storied career at UCSF, as a medical student, then a surgery resident, faculty member, Department of Surgery Chair and Chief Medical Officer for UCSF Medical Center, recently passed away at age 76.

Theodore (Ted) Schrock was born and raised in Berne, Indiana. He lettered in three sports during high school and was noted for scholarship. He attended Indiana University in Bloomington where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was named “Premed Student of the Year”. His A.B. degree with Highest Honors was obtained after the first year of medical school at UCSF, where, as a senior, Ted was President of the Student Body of the UCSF campus. He was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society, and upon graduation in 1964, received the Gold Headed Cane as the student who most exemplified the qualities of the true physician. He served as President of the Gold Headed Cane Society for 12 years.

Dr. Schrock entered residency in surgery at UCSF, spent two years as a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School, and completed residency in 1971. He was immediately recruited to the surgical faculty at UCSF, where he would spend his entire 33-year career in academic medicine. During this time, Dr. Schrock developed an international reputation for excellence in the surgical management of inflammatory bowel disease, serving as a guest lecturer and visiting professor around the globe. His academic milestones included nearly 200 articles, book chapters and abstracts, membership in sixteen professional societies, editorship of two journals: Perspectives in Colon and Rectal Surgery, and of Colon and Rectal Surgery Outlook, and several distinguished service awards.

In 1993, Dr. Schrock was appointed Interim Chair of UCSF Department of Surgery. In three short years, his effective leadership culminated in his permanent appointment as Chair of the Department in 1996. Two years later, he became Chief Medical Officer for UCSF Medical Center, remaining in that position until his retirement in 2004.

Early in his career, Dr. Schrock was a pioneer in the use of colonoscopy as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for diseases of the colon and rectum, gaining national and international renown for his work. He was a founding member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons and became its President in 1988. He was also a key figure in organizing the First World Congress of Surgical Endoscopy in Berlin in 1988, and was an invited participant to numerous world conferences and congresses on these subjects.

Dr. Schrock was also honored as the Gerald Marks Lecturer by the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons. He was the first surgeon to become President of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and was invited to deliver the Distinguished Lecture to the annual meeting of that society in 1993.

Among his numerous roles at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF School of Medicine, Dr. Schrock was Chair of the Credentials Committee, Vice-President of the Medical Staff, and President of the Medical Staff. He also served as President of the UCSF Howard C. Naffziger Surgical Society for its 1987-88 term.

Theodore R. Schrock, M.D. enjoying retirement

After retirement, he and his wife bred Arabian horses in Montana, later moving to Scottsdale, Arizona where they lived at the time of Ted’s passing.

Celebration of Dr. Schrock’s Life

There will be a celebration of Theodore (Ted) Schrock’s life on October 2, 2016, details of which are available at the family posting on Those wishing to attend should visit the family page (registration required).

A Personal Tribute to the Late Thomas R. Russell, MD

Thomas Russell, MD

by Dr. Laurence Yee, MD

Read on November 16, 2014 in Bolinas, California

Dr. Thomas Russell is that once in a lifetime person and personality.

The 1 in a billion person.

And it was my great luck to be associated with him.

It is virtually impossible properly thank Dr. Russell for all of the teaching and mentorship he has personally provided me and all the hundreds of UCSF medical students and surgical residents who have had the privilege of working with him.

You have had a career and family that every surgeon aspires for.

Dr. Russell served as a US Navy surgeon during Vietnam, finished as Chief Resident in surgery at UCSF under Dr. William Blaisdell and Dr. JE Dunphy, recruited to join Dr. Peter Volpe in practice of colon and rectal surgery in San Francisco at age 33, succeeded Dr. Carlton Mathewson as Chairman of Surgery at California Pacific Medical Center at age 37, and left his surgical practice in his absolute prime at age 59 as he was recruited to become the Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago succeeding Dr. Samuel Wells.

But to me, even more important than what you accomplished as a surgeon, was how you treated all people, whether they were patients, students, nurses, doctors, or even complete strangers.

…with respect, kindness, and compassion.

Read full tribute