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David J. Sugarbaker, M.D., 1952-2018, a Powerful Force for Mesothelioma Patients
As do thousands of mesothelioma and lung cancer patients across the country and around the world, Baron & Budd mourns the death this week of David J. Sugarbaker, a renowned surgeon in the field of malignant pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. As a teen, David Sugarbaker followed his physician father on patient rounds and even assisted him in the operating room. He grew up to perform the very first lung transplant in the state of Massachusetts and went on to develop the first hospital department of thoracic surgery that was specific to lung cancer and not cardiac-related. During his time at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Sugarbaker founded the International Mesothelioma Program, one of the most highly regarded facilities in the world for diagnosing and treating the aggressive asbestos cancer. For pleural mesothelioma patients, Dr. Sugarbaker was a powerhouse of knowledge, experience and positive attitude.
Dr. Sugarbaker’s unshakable view, that mesothelioma does not automatically guarantee an abrupt and agonizing death, enabled countless patients to lead high quality lives far beyond the typical six- to 12-month life expectancy that a mesothelioma diagnosis typically foretells. Dr. Sugarbaker believed that many mesothelioma patients could live fulfilling lives while managing the symptoms of their disease. He developed life-lengthening treatments and therapies throughout his storied career, and he personally helped dozens of Baron & Budd clients lead longer, higher-quality lives in the process.
Mesothelioma Treatment Center
In addition to his International Mesothelioma Program in Boston, in 2014 Dr. Sugarbaker founded the Mesothelioma Treatment Center at the Baylor College of Medicine Lung Institute in Houston, Texas. Through his groundbreaking work, Dr. Sugarbaker developed a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and intensivists to tailor comprehensive personalized treatment plans for each patient individually. It was his belief that a focused approach to treatment which combines cutting-edge clinical, biomedical and research programs along with social workers, case managers and spiritual guides, would create an optimal opportunity for patients to live longer after a mesothelioma diagnosis and with a higher quality of life.
We salute Dr. Sugarbaker’s unrelenting devotion to mesothelioma patients and offer his family our most sincere condolences.