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Francisco Gonzáles-Crussí

Francisco Gonzales-CrussiRetired Professor of Pathology, Northwestern University Medical School; Head of Laboratories, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, USA

Interview location: His Chicago apartment overlooking Lake Michigan
Interview date
: 14th November, 2007

Key Themes: Attributes of a Pathologist, Autopsy, Children, History of Pathology, International Perspective, Life, death and the hereafter, Mentors and Influences, Motivation, Relationship with clinicians



Profile   |   Transcript Summary   |   Full Transcript



There will be some diehards who say they see everything, and can do everything, adults and children.  But the right thing to do is to have people devote all their attention so that they can see the singularity of paediatric pathology

Francisco González-Crussí has done much to bring the practices and preoccupations of pathologists into the public arena with his wonderful collection of medical essays, which started with Notes of an Anatomist in 1985.  Born into a very poor home in Mexico City, he had an enquiring mind, and unwavering support from his widowed mother, and qualified in medicine in his home country before going to North America for specialist training in paediatric pathology. 

For nearly 30 years González-Crussí was head of pathology at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he pursued his passion for writing alongside his remarkable career as a diagnostician, doctor and teacher.  A key focus of his work was the study and treatment of childhood tumours, including teratomas, on which he wrote a text atlas for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

González-Crussí  more than most explores what his work as a pathologist has taught him about the meaning of life and death.  "The contemplation of death, the spectacle of the cadaver being opened at dissection, is truly an important experience," he says.  "You can't help but say, 'we are all made of that stuff…That's going to happen to me too’.”  This results in more than a purely intellectual understanding:  “It the understanding that touches the heart."


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