Written by Katherine Colvin | Editorial Assistant, EMJ
HONOURING the impact and innovation of the career of the late David G. Jagelman, the Jagelman Oration has been held at the International Colorectal Disease Symposium since 1994. His contribution to colorectal surgery endures in the international polyposis registry he established and the department of colorectal surgery he set up at the Cleveland Clinic, Florida, USA, testament also by more than 200 research publications. However, it was his compassionate, patient-centred care and advocacy that was honoured during Prof Steve Wexner’s introduction to this year’s Jagelman Oration.
Jagelman was born in London, UK, in 1939 and attended King’s College London before completing medical school at Westminster Hospital Medical School. Jagelman trained in London from 1963, and took on roles such as surgical registar, research lecturer, and senior registrar at the Metropolitan, Westminster, and St Mark’s hospitals until 1974. It was during his years at the Westminster Hospital that he met his wife, Ann.
In 1974, Jagelman left for a year’s fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, and his experience working under Rupert Turnbull led him to decide to stay in the USA for the remainder of his career, where he became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In 1988 he was asked to set up the department of colorectal surgery at the new Cleveland Clinic in Florida, and moved to Florida with his wife and children: Richard, Jane, Sally, and Amanda.
Jagelman’s contribution to the practice and understanding of colorectal medicine was profound. He established the Familial Polyposis Registry at the Cleveland Clinic in 1979, which remains part of the largest database of colorectal cancer in North America, now named the David G. Jagelman Inherited Colorectal Cancer Registries. Forty years on, these registries continue to provide education, genetic testing, and support to thousands of families, and contribute to
In 1989 Jagelman was a founding member, and elected to be the first Chariman, of the Leeds Castle Polyposis Group (LCGP). The group was a driving force behind developing a knowledge base for familial adenomatous polyposis, a disease that had previously been reliant on anecdotal evidence to direct patient care. LCGP advocated for the value of cancer registries for understanding the genetic basis of some cancers, and the importance of multi-dimensional care for patients and families. LCGP merged with the International Collaborative Group on Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (ICG-HNPCC) in 2005 and continues today as The International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumours (InSiGHT). His commitment to, and compassion for, his patients continues to be honoured through the David Jagelman Award from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRC), which is awarded annually for advocacy in colorectal cancer. Each year, the Jagelman Oration at the International Colorectal Disease Symposium provides a tribute to Jagelman’s role in colorectal cancer research. The Jagelman Oration for 2020 was presented by orthopaedic surgeon Wael K. Barsoum, the current CEO and President of the Cleveland Clinic, Florida, on the topic of technological innovations to help solve the global healthcare crisis.
“David was a prolific educator, he was a gifted orator, but mostly he was incredibly empathetic, compassionate. He cared about his patients.” At the 2020 International Colorectal Disease Symposium, Prof Steve Wexner paid tribute to Jagelman’s compassion and celebrated his patient-centred care, through his work as both an educator and a clinician. “He would work as long and hard as necessary to take care of every patient.”
Jagelman passed away on the 9th of August 1993 at 53. Prof Wexner described the ongoing impact of Jagelman on the Cleveland Clinic, Florida: “A legacy that every single one of us tries to perpetuate in the department of colorectal surgery daily; passing along his teachings, to convey the sense of empathy and compassion that he had for his patients.”