American Surgical Association Transactions

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1927 - 2019

William H. Edwards, M.D., 1927-2019

Dr. William Hawkins "Bill" Edwards died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on October 23, 2019. Dr. Edwards was born on March 16, 1927 in Nashville. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Frances McGaughy Edwards, his son, Dr. William Hawkins Edwards, Jr., his daughters, Mary Frances Edwards and Sarah Elizabeth Edwards Higgins, as well as 9 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.

Dr. Edwards was the great grandson of Alvin Hawkins, the first Republican Governor of Tennessee. Along with his great-grandfather, father, sister and two brothers in law, Bill played a major role in advancing medical and surgical practice in Tennessee and across the country.

Dr. Edwards served in the Navy in World War II, and then graduated from Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt Medical School before going on to surgical training at Vanderbilt and UCLA Medical Center. He completed a Vascular Fellowship at Baylor University in Houston Texas with Drs. DeBakey and Cooley. He then returned to Nashville as clinical professor at Vanderbilt Medical School and with Dr. Andrew Dale started the St. Thomas Vascular Fellowship in 1969 which later included Vanderbilt and became known as the Vanderbilt-St Thomas Vascular Fellowship. In1991, Dr. Edwards became the H. William Scott Professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt. His long career included significant contributions to clinical research.

He was instrumental in helping Tennessee physicians obtain liability insurance by forming the State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company (SVMIC) in 1976 when the last insurer abruptly left the state. He was a director from the inception in 1976, Vice-President 1980-1982 and was named President in 1982 where he served until his retirement in 1993. SVMIC is considered a model for physician owned insurance companies to this day. He considered his contribution to solving the malpractice crisis in Tennessee and helping to found SVMIC one of his greatest accomplishments.

He was a strong advocate for the medical profession and served as Speaker of the House of Delegates of the Tennessee Medical Association 1974-1978. He was also a member of the Southern Medical Association. He was a charter member of the Southern Association for Vascular Society and served as president in 1996-97. He was a member of the Southeastern Surgical Association and served as president in 1992. He was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and served as chair of the Tennessee Chapter. He was a member of The Southern Surgical Association and a fellow of the American Surgical Association. He was a member of the Society of Vascular Surgery and the International Cardiovascular Society.

Dr. Edwards was the consummate teacher and mentor to countless surgical residents and Vascular Fellows. He shared his skill and joy of surgical practice with doctors and nurses wherever he practiced and lectured. He will be dearly missed.