Dr. John M. MacKeigan, who served as ASCRS President in 2000-2001, died of cancer at his home in West Olive, Michigan, July 27 at the age of 70. After graduating from medical school and completing a general surgery residency at Dalhousie University Medical School in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he came to the Ferguson Clinic in Grand Rapids, MI, for his colon and rectal surgery residency, and started his clinical practice there.
He later became Chief of Staff and Medical Director of the new Ferguson/Blodgett Digestive Disease Institute and ultimately rose to become Chief Medical Officer for the Spectrum Health System. “He will be greatly missed by all,” said Richard Breon, Spectrum’s President and Chief Executive Officer, in announcing the death. “Anyone who had the privilege of knowing Johnny will remember his kindness, wit and passion for all things medical.”
Dr. MacKeigan was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in 1944. His father, Ian MacKeigan, was a lawyer and Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. His mother, Jean, was an active community volunteer. “He learned from his parents the importance of giving back,” said Dr. Martin A. Luchtefeld, of Grand Rapids, one of his residents, in a tribute. “The fact that he learned the lesson well is reflected in the many years of public service that he performed.”
Dr. Luchtefeld will deliver a memorial lecture in Dr. MacKeigan’s honor at the ASCRS 2015 Annual Meeting in Boston. Dr. Anthony J. Senagore, of Saginaw, MI, will give the introduction.
Before becoming ASCRS President, Dr. MacKeigan was the Society’s delegate to the American Medical Association for many years. He was a strong advocate of physician involvement in public policy. In a memorable 2001 Presidential Address, he said: “Politics balances fact and opinion, and the end result is public policy. Health is our business, but everything is politics. We have to be part of the negotiation.”
His Presidential Address was entitled “Finding Longitude.” He concluded, “Our Society is an instrument to help us navigate, change, take risks, alter course, and find longitude.”
Dr. MacKeigan was also President of the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, and President of the Michigan State Medical Society.
“He was an outstanding clinical surgeon and educator and was always committed to the highest quality patient care,” Dr. Luchtefeld said. “It was the goal of all his residents to some day perform up to his level of expertise. He was one of those rare individuals who could combine great clinical skills with administrative acumen.”
“He loved the simple things—a good day of sailing, hot dogs, red licorice, and a nice slice of pie. His final weeks were filled with laughing, remembering, and cherishing his family and many friendships,” Dr. Luchtefeld said
Dr. MacKeigan is survived by his wife, Suzie, three children (Sara, Daniel, and Jeffrey) and many grandchildren.