Stafford Cohen, MD

Class of: 1961

Specialties: Cardiology

Current practice: Retired

Fond memory of BUSM: While a student at BUSM, I attended a lecture by Paul Zoll on external pacing and defibrillation. He was the first in the world to unequivocally document a successful “jump-start” of a stilled heart and the first in the world to successfully terminate ventricular fibrillation with external electro cardiac therapy to the surface of the chest. Both devices, the external pacemaker and defibrillator, were revolutionary and resulted in a worldwide paradigm shift in the management of life-threatening and near life-ending arrhythmias. Imagine, rapid application of these devices to a patient at the edge of the grave, could save a life within moments.

Favorite professor at BUSM: Professor: JJ Burns, the Chief of the BUSM Surgical Service at Boston City Hospital (BCH) was not only an excellent teacher of surgical principles and surgical approachable problems; he also had an impressive treasure of broad and deep medical knowledge. 

Home Care: The Home Care Rotation was my first true clinical experience as a novice sole physician on assignment to interact with a patient in the context of a doctor-patient relationship. In my opinion, that relationship forms the foundation of clinical medicine.

Most recent accomplishment: Revising bio on Paul Zoll and making it a documentary.

Hobbies outside of work: My hobbies include affirming what is often said about doctoring being an exercise in “life-long learning”. My areas of continued learning include an interest in writing about medical history, learning about prominent figures in medicine and authoring a biography and a medical memoir. Let me elaborate.
(1) I have written many medical articles. A few that are of human interest and more likely to have elements of popular appeal include Nazi Surgeons that Forcibly Experimented on Women Prisoners at the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany During WWII; Cardiac Death and Near Death During the History of the Boston Marathon and The First Child Ever to Receive a Long-Term Pacemaker.
(2) In 2014, I authored a biography titled Paul Zoll MD; The Pioneer Whose Discoveries Prevent Sudden Death. The book was revised in 2017 and that led to a short documentary about Paul Zoll in 2019.
(3) My most recent book, Doctor Stay By Me, was just released on Amazon. It is a medical memoir. The book consists of 45 short stories about memorable medical experiences and patient interactions. The devaluation of the patient-doctor relationship and its needed repair is the binder and wrapper about the stories. Six of the stories occurred when I was a medical student. Some pointed my journey towards clinical academic cardiology. Students should be aware that the patient host to an illness is often far more interesting than the illness itself. Thus, medical students and doctors should make the time to “Know Thy Patient.”

Academic appointment: Assoc Prof of Clinical Medicine at  HMS, emeritus

Recent publications: Monroe J Schlesinger’s Radiographic Visualization of Coronary Arteries in Post-Mortem Hearts & its Clinical Application(AJC) in press
Beth Israel Hospital’s Compassionate Care of Ravensbruck Lapins (TJA)

Any other thought to share: Gross Anatomy was the necessary “trial by fire” in setting my lab group on the path to becoming accomplished MDs. Working as a foursome, 2 became surgeons, 1 a cardiologist and 1 a psychiatrist.