Summer 2015  

Past President, DC&R Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Dr. Victor W. Fazio Dies at 75

Dr. Victor FazioDr. Victor W. Fazio, an Australian surgeon who came to the U.S. to study under one of the legends of colon and rectal surgery, Dr. Rupert Turnbull, and stayed on to chair the Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic for 38 years, has died at age 75. He served as ASCRS President in 1995-1996 and was Editor-in-Chief of Diseases of the Colon and Rectum from 1997 to 2006.

Dr. Fazio is warmly remembered for his dedicated leadership, personal charisma and magnetism. “Those who worked with him were wowed by his vast clinical experience and expertise, his encyclopedic knowledge of all things colorectal, and an appetite for hard work that has seldom been equaled,” said two longtime colleagues, Drs. James Church and Ian Lavery.

“He leaves a legacy of well-trained colorectal surgeons that is multiplying exponentially, extending the quantity and improving the quality of life of thousands of patients around the world,” Drs. Church and Lavery said in remembrance.

“It wouldn’t have mattered which profession he entered (some friends said he would have been at least “Cardinal” in the Catholic Church), he would have succeeded in it,” added Dr. Jeffrey Milsom, New York, NY.

Dr. Fazio was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a medical degree and took surgical training at St. Vincent’s Hospital before coming to the U.S. as a hepatobiliary fellow at the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts. Then, he made his career-defining move to Cleveland and a colorectal fellowship under Dr. Turnbull (ASCRS President 1974-1975). His surgical career was interrupted by a tour of duty in Vietnam.

Dr. Fazio was awarded the Premier Physician Award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in 1992, inducted into the Cleveland Medical Hall of Fame in 2002, and received the Order of Australia in 2004.

In his first President’s message to the ASCRS membership, Dr. Fazio said, “Each of us can promote and defend the Society’s position as a leader and ‘spokesman’ for the study and treatment of colonic and rectal disease. And do so with spirit and conviction that we can provide a high quality of care that is unusual – giving satisfaction to patients and pause to our generalist colleagues.”

He is survived by his loving wife Carolyn, sons Victor W. III and David J. (Tami), daughter Jane K. (Jeffrey) Powell, and six grandchildren.

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