Children's Hospital Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. David Tapper Passes Away

Seattle, Wash. – Dr. David Tapper, surgeon-in-chief of Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center for the past 18 years, passed away in his home July 23, 2002 after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 57 years old.


Seattle, Wash. – Dr. David Tapper, surgeon-in-chief of Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center for the past 18 years, passed away in his home July 23, 2002 after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 57 years old.

Dr. Tapper joined Children’s Hospital in 1983 as its first surgeon-in-chief and was also professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and vice-chairman of Department of Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He transformed a small department into a fully accredited, sought-after training program that includes every surgical specialty.

“To all of us he was a friend, healer, mentor, surgeon and teacher without peer,” said Treuman Katz, president and CEO of Children’s. “He was not only the consummate academic surgeon - one who excelled in teaching, research and patient care - but also a wonderful human being. He will be terribly missed.”

Dr. Tapper was honored last year with the creation of the David Tapper Endowed Lectureship in Pediatric Surgery, providing training, support and a reminder of the core values of medicine to the pediatric surgical community.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Maryland and received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He completed a full general surgical residency at the University of California, San Francisco and a pediatric surgery research fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. This was followed by two years of fellowship training in pediatric surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital. He then spent the next four years at the Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital as a pediatric surgeon and scientific investigator.

Dr. Tapper recently concluded his presidency of the American Pediatric Surgical Association. He served as a leader in many local, regional and national organizations, including president of the Seattle Surgical Society, and councilor of the Washington, Alaska and British Columbia Caucus of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association.

Devoted to his family, Dr. Tapper is survived by his wife of 34 years, Susan, and their four children, JoEllen, Erica, Jacalyn and Aaron. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to: The David Tapper Residents Fund, c/o UW Foundation, 1325 Fourth Avenue, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98101.

As both a community hospital for greater Seattle and the pediatric referral center for the Pacific Northwest, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center provides directly or in partnership with others, excellent pediatric care, education and research programs. Children’s is an advocate on behalf of health care needs of children at local, state and national levels. Children’s provides health care appropriate for the special needs of children regardless of race, sex, creed, ethnicity or disability. Financial assistance is provides based upon family need and hospital resources.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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