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ABS Announces Passing of Dr. George E. Cruft

May 16, 2012 Media Contact: Christine Shiffer, 215-568-4000

  • It is with great sadness that the American Board of Surgery reports the death of Dr. George E. Cruft on May 4, 2012. Dr. Cruft served as director of evaluation of the ABS from June 1974 to October 1996, and then as director of special projects until his retirement in July 2004.

Dr. Cruft was raised in Illinois and long maintained roots to his family farm. He was an extremely loyal alumnus of the University of Illinois where he received his B.S. and M.D. degrees. He joined the U.S. Navy while an undergraduate and, after a year of internship at Indianapolis General Hospital, entered active duty. Dr. Cruft completed his residency in general surgery at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital in 1962 and went on to hold several key command positions, including division surgeon for the Third Marine Division in Vietnam, chief of surgery at the Oakland Naval Hospital, executive officer of the San Diego Naval Hospital, and commanding officer of the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. He received numerous commendations for his Navy service, including the Legion of Merit in 1968.

Upon retiring from the Navy, Dr. Cruft worked briefly at the National Board of Medical Examiners before coming to the ABS. The National Board experience enabled Dr. Cruft to greatly advance the quality of testing at the ABS, including the first recertification examination in general surgery and the first ABS In-Training Examination (ABSITE). Perhaps most importantly, his wisdom helped greatly to guide the ABS where he served as the "organizational memory" for over three decades and under four executive directors.

Dr. Cruft had a special personality and was a deeply caring and generous person. He was deeply affected by the death of his devoted and beloved wife Helen in 2010. He is survived by several cousins in the Midwest. A memorial service is planned in Philadelphia on June 16.

About the ABS
  • The American Board of Surgery is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. Surgeons certified by the ABS, known as diplomates, have completed at least five years of surgical training following medical school and successfully completed a written and oral examination process administered by the ABS. The ABS offers board certification in general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, surgery of the hand, hospice and palliative medicine, and complex general surgical oncology. It is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.