UNC Cardiothoracic Surgery Chief Wilcox loses battle with cancer

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Distinguished heart surgeon Benson Reid Wilcox, MD, who served as the chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, died May 11 after a bought with brain cancer.

Wilcox, 77, served as UNC's cardiothoracic surgery chief for 29 years from 1969 to 1998. Additionally, Wilcox held leadership posts at the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, was chairman of the Advisory Council for Cardiothoracic Surgery of the American College of Surgeons and president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Wilcox, who focused on pediatric heart surgery with a specialization in congenital heart disease, pediatric cardiac morphology, pediatric chest disease and pulmonary circulation also co-authored three books and published several medical journals.

He was also involved in the training of resident physicians and established the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association to improve cardiothoracic training and education, where he was president for two years from 1985 to 1987.