Should the US Surgeon General have to be a Surgeon?

Should the US Surgeon General have to be a Surgeon?

10/11/2017 10:00

The new appointee for Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams, is by all accounts a qualified candidate and a great physician. As a board certified anesthesiologist, however, one thing he cannot claim to be, is a “surgeon.” In fact, the Surgeon General he is replacing, Dr. Vivek Murthy isn't a surgeon either. Dr. Murthy is a board certified physician in Internal Medicine. In fact, to find a Surgeon General who was actually a surgeon you need to go back all the way to 1982 when Dr. C. Everett Koop, a pediatric surgeon, was appointed by Ronald Reagan. Since that time we have had many Internal Medicine Physicians, several nurses, and even a veterinarian, but no actual surgeons serving as Surgeon General. Today I've taken the liberty of picking out who I think the top choices would be today if the pool was limited to just the “real surgeons.”

Dr. Alfredo Fernandez – The Cuban born General Surgeon practices in Florida and easily makes our short list of possible picks with some of the most impressive credentials in the country.
Pros: With multiple surgical publications, Dr. Fernandez is also a surgical pioneer, inventing many techniques that are used in general surgery today. Most impressive, this bilingual surgeon is one of only a handful of General Surgeons in the US recognized as a “Master Surgeon” for superior surgical quality and outcomes. 

Cons: Dr. Fernandez loves operating and has strong roots with a large practice in the Tampa area. He might not be willing to pack up and head to Washington for a policy position away from the operating room.


Dr. Ben Carson – The current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is actually also one of the most renowned pediatric surgeons in the country.
Pros: Dr. Carson served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for over twenty years. His real fame, however, comes from his pioneering surgery on separating conjoined twins, a rare type of twins where the two babies are born connected to each other. Dr. Carson is the only surgeon in the country to have successfully separated certain types of conjoined twins, using operations he invented and performed.
Cons: Dr. Carson's credentials as a surgeon are beyond questioning, but his political position is more controversial. Dr. Carson is extremely conservative, and his polarizing viewpoints on many topics, both medical and social, can leave a bad taste in the mouths of some.

Dr. Greg Marchand – The AZ based surgical pioneer and multiple world record recipient easily makes our list of those qualified for the Surgeon General post.
Pros: Dr. Marchand is world renowned for his laparoscopic techniques and accomplishments. Along with Dr. Fernandez, Dr. Marchand is one of only a handful of surgeons in the US to carry the credential of “Master Surgeon.” Dr. Marchand is best known for his “keyhole” laparoscopic techniques, where he has received professional recognition and world records (Yes, Guinness World Records®,) for removing tumors as large as 17 centimeters (or youth soccer ball size) through tiny incisions only one centimeter in length.
Cons: Dr. Marchand is a gynecologic surgeon. Some could be squeamish about giving the top doc post someone who has never seen or operated on a male patient.

For more information about these surgeons you can check out Dr. Fernandez at, Dr. Ben Carson at, and Dr. Marchand at

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