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Temple  Fay, MD
1895-1963

TEMPLE FAY was born on January 9, 1895 in Seattle, Washington. He was a descendant of John Fay, who arrived at the age of eight aboard the "Speedwell" out of London, in 1656. Eli Whitney was a cousin of Temple’s grandfather.

He attended the University of Washington, and spent much of his summer vacation at the Marine biological laboratory near Seattle. He matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School where he spent every spare moment with Dr. William Spiller, the famous neurologist, on ward rounds. When his hospital appointment was completed in 1923, he became Dr. Spiller’s assistant at the Philadelphia General Hospital, then Dr. Charles Frazier’s assistant, and then an instructor in neurosurgery. During the period with Dr. Frazier, he published his technique on intracranial section of the fifth and ninth cranial nerves and of the upper two cervical roots for malignancies of oral pharynx. He developed a combined occipital cerebellar approach and tentorial section for large acoustic neuromas. His papers on fluid restriction in head trauma were published in 1923. He developed a combined suction, irrigating instrument and a lighted brain retractor in 1927.

In 1929, he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Neurosurgery at Temple University Medical School. In 1935, he combined the Chairs of Neurosurgery and Neurology.

In November 1938, he began his refrigeration experiments on humans, primarily for the control of cancer. His pioneering work in this field stimulated considerable research and led to many practical applications of this therapy.

Dr. Fay left Temple University in 1943, and gave much of his remaining time to the rehabilitation of the brain-damaged neurological patient.

Dr. Fay was one of the charter members and organizers of the Harvey Cushing Society. He became the sixth president of the Society in 1937.

He was a past-President of the Philadelphia Neurological Society and an examiner on the Board of Neurological Surgery.

During his busy years, Dr. Fay found time to write a novel called The Intern. He was a gentleman farmer and a devoted yachtsman. He was an accomplished teacher and a stimulating lecturer who could hold his audiences. He was a master of the neurological examination and a meticulous and skilled technician in the operating room. He trained many residents and his greatest legacy to them was their training as neurological neurosurgeons and clinicians.

Dr. Fay was married to Marion Priestly Button and they had four daughters: Jane, Alice, Marion and Marie Louse. He died in 1963.

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