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Marcus Whitman Hedgcock, Jr.

Died: November 15, 1994

Marc Hedgcock was raised in Champaign, Illinois and attended Champaign High School. His father was a doctor, as was Marc. After his undergraduate years at Yale, he attended Yale Medical School, graduating in 1971. He completed an internship at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, then served in the U.S. Army for three years. He spent one year in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. From 1973 to 1977, he was a resident in radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He became an assistant professor of radiology at UCSF in 1977 and joined the staff at the San Francisco Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center in 1978. Proficient in research as well as in medical practice, he published at least 42 articles during his career.

He died of a massive brain-stem hemorrhage on November 15, 1994, just two weeks after his 50th birthday. He was survived by his sister, Judith Winship Green.

Dr. Hedgcock developed protocols to evaluate the tolerance and toxicity of nonionic contrast agents administered intravenously. He also had an early fascination with filmless radiology. He spent his entire professional life trying to make others understand the technologic implications. In the late 1980s, through his efforts the San Francisco VA received a grant of $750,000 which he parlayed to well over $1 million to begin a feasibility project at the VA in filmless radiology. This was followed in 1988 by a VA merit review grant of $1.2 million.

“The euphoria of beginning this new project gave way to extreme frustration in the inability at that time of the vendor to provide a smooth interface for clinical work, the reluctance of clinicians to accept images in a different format, and the lack of VA resources to support and maintain the equipment. The initial project was discontinued; however, Dr. Hedgcock began anew to build the bridges for filmless linkage. He was relentless.”

“Throughout these struggles, Dr. Hedgcock kept his sense of humor. Ever the optimist, he joked about the adversities, witty and undaunted. All the while, he provided a tremendous service to the radiology department by completing a gargantuan load of work each day without complaint. He dressed in an Ivy League, shabby-chic casual style. He was unique, a bit of a loner, and a very private person. Proud of his family, devoted to friends and his companion, he was sensitive, caring, accepting, loyal and vulnerable.”

“We deepest sadness and regret, we bid him adieu. May he rest in peace.”


(Note: This account relies extensively on a eulogy written by a colleague of Marc Hedgcock’s, Gretchen A. W. Gooding, M.D. It appeared in the Journal of the Radiological Society of North America, Volume 195, Number 2, p. 581.)

Patrick Ogle remembers:

Marc was a brilliant and witty man, and a marvelous conversationalist. He was accomplishing great things in medical research when he was felled suddenly by a brain hemorrhage about 20 years ago. I remember he lightened up our weary grind at one point by going up to Quality Grocery and purchasing a vegetable belonging to the onion family. For several days afterward, he carried it around in his coat pocket, proffering it to others, with the comment: “Here, take a leek!”

Jonathan Price remembers:

Marc Hedgcock was a distinctive fellow English major whom I knew for a while and who somehow owned or at least drove a racy new Jaguar while he was an undergraduate. Or so my fading memory has it.