Gift Celebrates Longtime Doctor-Patient Relationship

Frances Broaddus-Crutchfield recently established the 
George and Frances Broaddus Crutchfield Lecture Series with 
a generous donation to the VCU Pauley Heart Center.

Dr. Michael Hess and Frances Broaddus-Crutchfield with Dr. Jim Young of the Cleveland ClinicThe annual series will support and advance education in heart failure. Mrs. Broaddus-Crutchfield presented the gift in memory of her late husband, George Crutchfield, the Director of the VCU School of Mass Communications for many years, and in honor of his longtime physician, Dr. Michael Hess.

“We were doctor, patient and friends for 34 years,” said Dr. Hess, VCU Clinical Professor of Medicine and a noted heart failure and heart transplantation scholar. “He was a brilliant man, who built one of the more distinguished schools of mass communications in the world.” Mrs. Broaddus-Crutchfield’s gift was a fitting tribute to her husband because “it combines medicine, cardiology, education—which he was obviously very dedicated to—and communication.”

Mrs. Broaddus-Crutchfield said her husband, who died in March 2011, had already experienced two open heart surgeries by the time she met him. The couple married in 1995. “Were it not for the doctors in the Pauley Heart Center, most especially Dr. Hess, I would not have had a second married life,” she said. “I would not have known him had they not been able to save him.” The gift, she said, “is just giving back. If you have a little something, it’s important to give it back.” “I am delighted with this gift that will allow us to ensure the intellectual collaboration and stimulation of bringing the top experts in heart failure and heart transplantation to interact with our physicians,” said Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen, Chair of Cardiology Division, Pauley Heart Center.

Before her husband died, the Crutchfields hosted a luncheon at the hospital to celebrate Dr. Hess’s and Mr. Crutchfield’s many years together as doctor and patient. Mrs. Broaddus-Crutchfield read a poem that she had written in honor of Dr. Hess, which was later framed and presented to him at the 2012 Pauley Heart Center Consortium dinner. “As a doctor, he is very competent and kind, and those are the two best things one can say about a doctor,” she said.

The Inaugural George and Frances Broaddus Crutchfield Lecture was held on October 10, 2013 and featured guest lecturer Dr. Jim Young of the Cleveland Clinic. Because of Mrs. Broaddus-Crutchfield’s generosity, Dr. Young spent his time on campus interacting with Pauley Heart Center faculty, discussing heart failure care and presenting at the Department of Internal Medicine Grand Rounds.

Continued education in heart failure medicine is of paramount importance, “but funding for such endeavors is getting harder to find,” said Dr. Hess. “Frances’ gift has made it possible for the Pauley Heart Center to host a lecture in heart failure every year and to expose our faculty and trainees to peers that are doing great things at other institutions.”

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