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Dr. Daniel Ledbetter leaves rich legacy as surgeon and teacher

The Department of Surgery has lost a distinguished colleague and pediatric surgeon with the unexpected passing of Dr. Daniel Ledbetter, 62, during a family vacation in Thailand on Feb. 27, 2019.

Dr. Ledbetter’s connection to the UW School of Medicine began in 1981 when he moved to Seattle for his general surgery residency and then continued with his fellowship in pediatric surgery. After working at the University of Chicago and University of Florida, he was recruited back to the Department of Surgery faculty in 2000 and practiced as a pediatric surgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Ledbetter “will be remembered as a caring, committed and great technical surgeon who always insisted on doing the right things for his patients,” said Dr. Douglas Wood, the Henry N. Harkins Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery. “He was a fantastic partner for the other pediatric surgeons and a brilliant thinker, who insisted that all of our decisions should be evidence-based.”

His contributions were also immense in the teaching program for medical students, residents and fellows. As one student wrote in support of Dr. Ledbetter’s nomination for the Association of American Medical Colleges Humanism in Medicine Award in 2016, “[He] has been the most important teacher I’ve had during my medical school education. He teaches us patient care while exemplifying great bedside manner. He creates a caring environment for us to develop our clinical medicine skills. He teaches us things no book can … how to talk to patients and how to do it well. “

Dr. Ledbetter met his wife at Harborview when they were both residents. Dr. Sandra “Sunny” Juul is now Chief of Neonatology at Seattle Children’s. They were married in 1984 and have two children. Their family connection to UW Medicine continues with their daughter, Kelly, who is currently chief plastic surgery resident in the Department of Surgery.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Lake Union Café in Seattle. For more information, see the obituary in The Seattle Times.

 

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