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Vital Signs

Plastic surgeon, after 40 years as a "fixer," gains emeritus status

By Matthew C. Wiencke

Plastic surgeon Forst Brown is now retired, after 40 years on the faculty.

Ever since injuring his hand as a child, Forst Brown, M.D., had an inkling he would be fixing injuries similar to his own. After a 40-year career doing exactly that, as a hand and reconstructive surgeon, he was recently named a professor emeritus of plastic surgery at DMS.

Duties: When he joined the plastic surgery section at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in the late 1960s—sharing duties with just one other plastic surgeon—the section had a very active burn unit and did cleft palate surgery for the entire state of New Hampshire; later on, Brown's focus became rheumatoid hand surgery.

He also held numerous administrative posts at MHMH: director of the Emergency Department, chief of the Section of Plastic Surgery from 1983 to 1998, and vice chair of the Department of Surgery from 1983 to 1995. He was also active in regional emergency services planning in the 1970s, "setting up EMS services up and down the Connecticut River," he says.

Brown earned his M.D. from Harvard in 1959, then completed residencies in general surgery and plastic surgery at University Hospitals of Cleveland from 1959 to 1967.

Active: He has been active in organized medicine, including as president of the New England Society of Plastic Surgeons; a member of the executive committee of the American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS); and associate editor of that organization's newsletter, Hand Surgery Quarterly. He and his daughter, Mary Lynn Brown, DMS '84, an orthopaedic surgeon, were the first father-daughter members of the AAHS. He also received the AAHS Clinician Teacher of the Year Award in 1995.

Travel: He was bitten by the travel bug back in the 1960s, while serving in France during a brief stint with Walter Reed Army Hospital. Now that he's fully retired, he enjoys a lot more travel, throughout Europe and China. And when he's at home, he keeps busy using software to digitize old Kodachrome slides from his early trips. "I'm very pleased with them," he says. "They show up on a TV screen with very few fixes."

For someone who spent his career fixing mishaps, it's a pretty good way to enjoy retirement.

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