Lankenau Medical Center’s chief of cardiac surgery Francis Sutter honored by alma mater

In attendance at PCOM’s Founder’s Day luncheon in support of Dr. Sutter were (from left to right) Jack Lynch, FACHE, President and CEO, Main Line Health; Robert Schnall, MD, System Division Chief of Urology, Main Line Health; Frank McGeehin III, MD, Section Chief of Clinical Cardiology, Main Line Health; Francis Sutter, DO, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Lankenau Medical Center; Phil Robinson, President, Lankenau Medical Center; Horace MacVaugh III, MD, former Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Lankenau Medical Center (1978-1986); and Alex Uribe, MD, System Division Chief of Vascular Surgery, Main Line Health. (Submitted Photo)

 Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has announced Francis P. Sutter, DO, FACS, FACOS, as the recipient of the 2018 OJ Snyder Memorial Medal, according to a press release issued by Main Line Health.

It was presented to Dr. Sutter during PCOM’s Founders’ Day luncheon on Friday, January 26, in memory of the co-founder of PCOM and is the College’s highest award, which recognizes leadership and service to the osteopathic profession and to the institution. Dr. Sutter is a graduate of the PCOM class of 1976.

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Dr. Sutter, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Main Line Health’s Lankenau Medical Center and Clinical Professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College, is well-known for his innovative approach to coronary bypass surgery, using a robotic surgical system to perform coronary artery bypass grafts while his patients’ hearts continue to beat. The procedure is far less intrusive, sparing his patients the foot-long incision, split sternum and connection to a heart-lung machine that is required in traditional coronary bypass surgeries.

Dr. Sutter has performed close to 1,700 of these procedures—more than any surgeon in the United States—and has presented his method to cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists across the globe. He began performing the minimally invasive robotic bypass surgeries at Lankenau in 2005, after the hospital conducted a $1 million fundraising drive to purchase the robot.

In addition to his pioneering surgical approach, Dr. Sutter has made several additional contributions to the field of surgery, such as: co-founding the Delaware Valley STS Quality Improvement Initiative; serving as co-chair and representative of the General & Subspecialty Surgery Residency Evaluations & Standards Committee for the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons; and serving as guest reviewer of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery and the Journal of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Sutter is also a past member of the National Quality Forum, and holds memberships to a multitude of professional and scientific societies. He also was the first osteopathic physician to be board-certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Sutter has led national and international scientific meetings, and has frequently served as an invited guest speaker, sharing his expertise in the area of minimally-invasive surgical robotics. He has also published extensively on surgical treatments and has served as principal investigator and sub-investigator in studies and trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Over the years, Dr. Sutter has continued an association with PCOM, as a clinical associate professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular and Thoracic Surgery. PCOM students have completed rotations within his department at Lankenau, and he returns to campus annually to present to PCOM’s Surgery Club.

A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Sutter is a graduate of Cardinal O’Hara High School and has been inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame. He is also a graduate of LaSalle University and a recipient of the institution’s Roland Holroyd Award, presented to a distinguished physician.

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