Nowhere in the history of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery was there a stronger proponent for the patient than Dr. Alex Macgregor. I first met Dr. Macgregor when I was a resident and he was recruited to join the faculty in the Department of Surgery at the University of Florida. Dr. Macgregor was basically a quiet man who spoke with a serious Scottish brogue and exhibited an extremely dry sense of humor. Nothing escaped his watchful eye. He was a favorite among the residents because of his surgical skills and his insightful observations.
About the time I completed my residency, Dr. Macgregor moved from his faculty position to pursue private practice in the city of Gainesville, Florida. It was somewhat surprising that this academic physician and surgeon would move “across the street” in a small university town, and expect to be successful doing bariatric surgery. But that is exactly what Alex did. He and his wife, Chris, established their office and its staff (including Georgeann Mallory) and shortly thereafter devoted himself solely to the care of seriously obese individuals.
Always, without exception, the patient was the center of his attention. He championed support groups long before they were popular. Everything was done to the benefit and the safety of his patient. Many years later, he invited me back as a keynote speaker to the eleventh annual gathering of his patients to celebrate their success. I have never been involved in a more joyous gathering than that spring day in Gainesville. During this time, he had risen to the leadership position in the ASBS, and during his presidency the focus was clearly on the patients he served. He also proved that outstanding observational studies could come out of private practice groups and that private practitioners could lead national organizations. He was truly a gently leader, a quiet leader, but in every regard a leader. The ASBS/ASMBS is clearly better for his having focused his energies on the care of the morbidly obese patient.
These remarks were written by J. Patrick O’Leary, MD