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John D. Franklin, M.D.
1942 - 2008

John Franklin died on September 16, 2008 in an automobile accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Although his life ended tragically and suddenly, John had been an outstanding contributor to plastic surgery.

John was born in Louisville, Kentucky and spent his formative years in Kentucky. He earned his M.D. Degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis in 1966. John began his Post-Graduate Surgical Training at Vanderbilt University. His training was interrupted by military service during the Vietnam conflict. After his military duty, he returned to Vanderbilt and completed his General Surgery Training as well as staying on with Dr. J. B. Lynch to do his Plastic Surgery Training; he spent a year in Melbourne, Australia working under the world-renowned microsurgeon Dr. Bernard O’Brien at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. He then returned to Vanderbilt where he remained on the faculty until 1982.

John was well-known nationally and internationally in the field of Microsurgical Reconstruction and was key in the development of that specialty during its early days in the United States. John performed the first free tissue transfer in the State of Tennessee even prior to his Microsurgical Fellowship.

After leaving Vanderbilt in 1982, he joined the Department of Surgery at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga Unit at Erlanger Hospital in the Division of Plastic Surgery. He rose to be full Professor and Chief of the Division from 1988 through 1995. He then founded the Specialists in Plastic Surgery in Chattanooga where he continued his practice until his death.

John was a tireless and dedicated teacher in microsurgical reconstruction. He carried out basic research in the treatment of lymphedema and techniques of microsurgical reconstruction for lymphedema patients. He also developed and introduced the Deltoid Flap and published many papers on Microsurgical Research and Reconstruction. He established the Microsurgical Fellowships both at Vanderbilt University and at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga Unit where he trained many Fellows in Microsurgery.

John was a founding member of the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery and a member of the International Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery. He was also a member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, The American College of Surgeons, The Tennessee Society of Plastic Surgery, The J. B. Lynch Society and The Bernard O’Brien Microsurgical Society. He became a Fellow of the American Association of Plastic Surgery in 1983.

His contributions to plastic surgery and to his community were truly outstanding and included such charitable undertakings as Director of the Cleft Palate Program at Chattanooga Erlanger Hospital as well as the Chattanooga Unit at Chetumal, Mexico. He also served as Board President for Unity of Chattanooga. John was a trusted and dear friend who was extremely proud of his two sons and grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

R. Bruce Shack, M.D.

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