American Surgical Association Transactions

Search Transactions

1928 - 2016

NATHAN PIERCE COUCH, M.D., 1928 - 2016

Nate Couch was a longtime member of the Peter Bent Brigham, then Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Harvard Medical School. He was a beloved vascular surgeon noted for his unflappable demeanor, sense of humor and compassionate care for his patients.

Nate was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and attended Dalton High School, Peekskill Military Academy, and undergraduate education at Yale. He subsequently graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his surgical residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.

In addition to establishing his clinical practice in vascular surgery, Nate was intimately involved in translational scientific investigations. He was a participant in the early days of renal transplantation in the 1950's. He subsequently developed a device for extracorporeal liver support. During the late 1950's he was working in the laboratory and managed to attract some serious electricity from a sort-circuited X-ray machine, which passed through him to ground through his shoes. He arrested, but his colleagues in the lab managed to resuscitate him, after which he spent several weeks in a coma in the ICU. True to his Yankee heritage, he continued to proudly wear those shoes in spite of the hole through which the current grounded.

Nate authored 99 peer reviewed papers and countless additional educational material. He was President of the New England Society for Vascular Surgery and President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. Prior to his death on April 14, 2016 at his home in Dover, Massachusetts, Nate’s wife, Nancy, passed away after nearly 60 years of marriage. His survived by his three children and his five grandchildren. His family, his colleagues and hundreds of his devoted patients sorely miss him.