Lourdes Health Foundation Honors Dr. James Finnegan with Healing Spirit Award
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Lourdes Health Foundation has chosen James O. Finnegan, M.D., F.A.C.S., of LMA Surgical Associates in Haddon Heights, as one of the two recipients of its 2012 Healing Spirit Awards. The annual award honors a Lourdes physician for his or her compassion, dedication to patients and years of service.
The 2012 award will be presented to Dr. Finnegan on April 21 at the Lourdes Health Foundation's annual fundraising gala and silent auction, "The Dance 2012 -- Old Hollywood Glamour," held at Caesars Atlantic City. Proceeds from the black-tie event will benefit Lourdes Health System's areas of greatest need, as well as community programs and services.
While it has only been a few years since Dr. Finnegan joined the Lourdes community, the straight-talking veteran surgeon has already made a lasting impression upon thousands of people.
Decades ago, Dr. Finnegan left his stateside surgical residency to spend a year in Vietnam as a volunteer U.S. Navy surgeon assigned to the 3rd Marine Division. From January through April 1968, he was commanding officer of a surgical team stationed in KheSanh during the siege of the now famous combat base.
Dr. Finnegan sustained shrapnel wounds from a mortar explosion and was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with combat "v" for valor. He recorded his war experiences in his well-regarded book, In the Company of Marines: A Surgeon Remembers Vietnam.
"There's no equivalent civilian experience to that," he explains. "I cared for 2,500 U.S. Marine casualties in four months."
Now the matured Dr. Finnegan, who practices with his surgeon son, Matthew Finnegan, brings his vast experience (more than 7500 operations) to Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center as a member of LMA Surgical Associates, an affiliate of Lourdes Health System. He is board certified in both cardiothoracic and general surgery.
Among Dr. Finnegan's areas of expertise are: lung surgery, including video-assisted thoracic biopsies of lung lesions; esophageal surgery, including benign and malignant disease; management of infectious disease within the chest, including chest cavity and wall infection; and cardiac surgical wound management.
"Dr. Finnegan and his team see compassion as not only a core value, but an entity to be included in the order set of medical care," says Sister Rosemarie Kolmer, OSF, director of Pastoral Care at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. "Working with wounds which are often more than physical, Dr. Finnegan sees reverence and sensitivity to each patient as a a must have in his daily rounding."
Dr. Finnegan says the experience and confidence that he acquired on the battlefield helped to prepare him for his career as a cardiothoracic surgeon. "After the war there was little that I saw that could ruffle my feathers. With each patient I knew what had to be done and I did it."
Dr. Finnegan earned his degree from Hahnemann Medical College in 1964 and performed his residencies in general and cardiothoracic surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a professor of surgery at Drexel University School of Medicine since 1989 and has held leadership positions at several Delaware Valley hospitals, including vice chairman of surgery at MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine and chair of cardiothoracic surgery at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and hospital.
"Sometimes it amazes me to think that I started out as the oldest son of relatively poor -- yet supportive -- parents, and now am practicing cardiothoracic surgery with my own son in one of the most competitive markets in the nation," reflects Dr. Finnegan. "I'm doing what I love and I'm surrounded by my family -- it doesn't get much better than that."