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In Memoriam: Peter McPhedran, MD: 1936-2024

May 03, 2024

Peter McPhedran, MD, professor emeritus of laboratory medicine and of internal medicine (hematology), died on April 7, 2024. As a Yale School of Medicine faculty member and director of the Clinical Hematology Laboratory at Yale New Haven Hospital, McPhedran advanced discovery and patient care in the field of hematology, while inspiring generations of students and clinicians at Yale and abroad. A distinguished and deeply respected educator, hematologist, and physician, he was also beloved for his kindness and for going above and beyond to dedicate time to his patients.

McPhedran was born on October 25, 1936, in Philadelphia. His academic journey commenced at Harvard College, where he graduated magna cum laude with an AB in 1958, followed by his medical training at Harvard Medical School, where he earned his MD in 1962. McPhedran's professional career began as an intern at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, before he advanced to residency in internal medicine there from 1963 to 1965.

He served in the U.S. Public Health Service and as a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for two years, before completing a postdoctoral fellowship in hematology at Yale School of Medicine. He joined the Yale faculty in 1970 as an assistant professor, rising through the ranks to professor of laboratory medicine and of internal medicine in 1987. At Yale, he provided outstanding leadership in the role of director of the Clinical Hematology Laboratory, where he established new hemostasis diagnostics and shepherded the clinical laboratory to maintain state-of-the-art testing during a time of rapidly advancing hematologic patient care, including the initiation of bone marrow transplantation at Yale. As a laboratorian, he always assured the close and synergistic work of the clinical laboratory with the evolving needs of the patients. As a clinical hematologist and attending physician, he was beloved for his kindness, generosity, dedication to patients, and a relentless ability to find time for more patients than seemed possible in the clock or calendar. He was sometimes referred to by colleagues as “Saint Peter,” a nod to his consistent grace and reliable gravitas.

McPhedran's influence extended beyond borders, as evidenced by his international endeavors, such as serving as a visiting professor at the Second Affiliated Hospital, Hunan Medical University, Changsha, Peoples Republic of China, in May 1988. He was expert in the diagnosis of hematologic malignancies and made important contributions as a member of the National Cancer Institute international panel to review cases of leukemia and myelodysplasia diagnosed among Chernobyl cleanup workers in 2003 and 2004. Throughout his distinguished career, McPhedran garnered numerous accolades and professional recognitions, including his involvement with the American Society of Hematology and his pivotal role on the Subcommittee on Clinical Laboratory Standards.

With a steadfast commitment to advancing the frontiers of medicine and a profound impact on generations of medical professionals, Dr. Peter McPhedran's legacy will endure as a beacon of inspiration and excellence in the field of hematology.

Submitted by Robert Forman on May 03, 2024