A Tribute to Dr. James T. Goodrich

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The Hydrocephalus Association and many in the hydrocephalus community were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. James Goodrich on March 30, 2020. Dr. Goodrich was a pediatric neurosurgeon and longtime friend and supporter of HA, presenting at our educational events and serving as a compassionate physician to many in the hydrocephalus community, particularly New York City, where he practiced. He will be deeply missed. He was the director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery, Pediatrics, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. (See the tribute to Dr. Goodrich by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta)

James Tait Goodrich (April 16, 1946 – March 30, 2020), MD, PhD, born in Oregon, received his undergraduate degree from the University of California (Irvine) and masters, Ph.D. and M.D. from Columbia University.  He completed his residency training at New York – Presbyterian Hospital and the NY Neurological Institute. He also served as a Marine during in the Vietnam War.

Best known for his 2004 and 2016 separations of conjoined twins, he developed a multi-stage approach to separate craniopagus twins. In 2004, he operated on Carl and Clarence Aguirre, conjoined twins who shared brain tissue. During a 27-hour procedure, Dr. Goodrich led a 40 doctor team to separate them when they were 13 months old.

Dr. Goodrich also held the rank of Professor Contralto of Neurological Surgery at the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy. He authored numerous book chapters and articles in neurosurgery and the history of medicine and was known internationally as a lecturer.

Goodrich was truly a renaissance man with diverse interests; a wine connoisseur, a historian of medicine and collector of antiquarian medical and scientific books, as well as a collector of pre-Colombian art focused on medicine conditions. In 1982, he was elected to the American Osler Society, an organization of physicians and historians dedicated to perpetuating the life, teachings and ethical example of Sir William Osler (1849-1919), the Canadian physician, educator, bibliophile, historian, author and a co-founder of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Goodrich considered Osler his role model and his interests and achievements paralleled those of Dr. Osler. In 2018, Dr. Goodrich was awarded the prestigious Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was named one of the Best Doctors in America and was listed in the Guide to America’s Top Surgeons by the Consumers Council of America and New York Magazine. He received the New York City Mayor’s Award in Science and Technology. He was the recipient of many awards, including an honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) from the Burdenro Neurological Institute (Moscow), the Bronze Medal from the Alumni Association of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mead-Johnson Award, the Roche Laboratories Award in Neuroscience and the Sir William Osler Medal. 

The James T. Goodrich Award for Excellence in Neurobiology was established in 2018 by Dr. Goodrich and his wife, Judy L. Goodrich, to honor Dr. James McGaugh. The award recognizes an undergraduate student completing his/her 3rd year, for outstanding achievement in neurobiology.

Dr. Goodrich died in New York on March 30, 2020, of complications from COVID-19. He is survived by his wife, Judy Loudin, and three sisters. The Hydrocephalus Association extends its deepest sympathies to his family and the patients he served. 

Comments Received on Social Media from the Hydrocephalus Community:

“Saved my life. Will forever be grateful. Amazing doctor and person.”
-Ginaa Marie Teresa

“He was an amazing doctor, human being and my son’s first neurosurgeon. RIP.”
-Marcia Benjamin

“Amazing Dr. sleep in peace sir, you will be remembered.”
-Chels Alli

“I cried. He was truly special.”
-Sharon Berg Hochberg

“There isn’t enough words to describe this man! I am forever grateful for him. He didn’t just save one life but two. Two of my children were operated by this wonderful doc! Both of boys were born with craniosynthosis and he perform the surgeries! A man who knew what he was doing!”

“So sad he was an amazing doctor.”

“Heartbreaking to read this yesterday. Such an incredible mind and spirit.”

“He was an amazing neurosurgeon and human being 😭😭😭 I’m heartbroken and we will miss him as our doctor.”

“My wonderful doctor. He will be missed so much!! Like she said, never will be another Dr. Goodrich.” 

“Dr. Goodrich was a legend in his own time. He was a healer, an intellect, and a friend to everyone. Wonderful memories of him will be in the minds and hearts of many for a long time to come.”

“I have been in complete shock since I found out he was my Nuerosurgeon since I was 14 he will be missed.”

“Absolutely heartbreaking. We lost our incredible neurosurgeon, Timothy George, in November. The way these people are connected to our families can’t even be put into words. They come in during the most terrifying moments in our lives, fix our kid, then hand them back alive and safe. Losing that person is earth shattering. My prayers go out to everyone affected.”

“Just sad. Men like him make the world better for hydromoms and moms worldwide. May his soul rest in peace.”


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