News and Announcements

Pioneer heart surgeon Richard A. DeWall, M.D., a founding father of the medical school, dies at 89

Richard A. DeWall, M.D.

Richard A. DeWall, M.D., the inventor of an early heart-lung machine used in cardiac surgery worldwide who played a critical role in founding the Wright State University School of Medicine, died at his Oakwood home on Aug. 15, 2016. He was 89.

A pioneer heart surgeon and prolific inventor, DeWall created the first workable, portable bubble oxygenator in 1955. The DeWall Bubble Oxygenator soon became the model used around the world for open-heart surgery.

DeWall came to Dayton in 1966 to join the Cox Heart Institute. With encouragement from Virginia Kettering, he started the first open heart surgery program at Kettering Hospital, where he later established the general surgery residency-training program, serving as director from 1970-76.

Soon after his arrival in Dayton, DeWall felt the city might support a medical school to supply doctors for local hospitals. For the next three years, in addition to his increasingly busy surgical practice, DeWall worked to enlist support for the new school from community leaders. He wrote the original proposal for what became the WSU School of Medicine.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Aug. 26, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 33 W. Dixon Ave., Oakwood, OH 45419.

Last edited on 08/22/2016.