S. Frederick Slafsky, 83, died January 8 after a fall.
A general surgeon who practiced in Providence for 38 years, he was one of the first surgical appointees to the Brown University School of Medicine, serving as a clinical associate professor of surgery from 1986 to 2002 and named surgeon emeritus when he retired in 2004. He was a compassionate physician and a dedicated and committed teacher who built strong bonds with his patients, students, and professional colleagues.
A native of Gloucester, MA, where he spent summers working on the docks, Dr. Slafsky retained a love for the ocean and fishing throughout his life. He earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees at Cornell University and completed his surgical residency at Boston City Hospital and then St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, where he received the Spiedel Award from Cardinal Cushing for research on portacaval shunts. As a research fellow and instructor of surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, he worked in the animal laboratories of pioneering transplant surgeon and future Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Murray, MD.
At The Miriam Hospital Dr. Slafsky was the first director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. He served on many hospital committees and the board of directors of the Rhode Island State Review Organization, and participated in multiple levels in the development of Lifespan. He had clinical appointments at Roger Williams Medical Center and Women & Infants Hospital. He was president of the board of Mosshassuck Medical Center, where he maintained a clinical practice for more than 30 years.
Dr. Slafsky leaves his wife, Joan Temkin Slafsky, two sons, and four grandchildren. Gifts in his memory may be made to The Miriam Hospital, 164 Summit Ave., Providence, RI 02906; and WaterFire Providence, 101 Regent Ave., Providence, RI 02908.