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VUMC mourns loss of radiology pioneer Payne

Mar. 5, 2021, 3:14 PM


by Arthur C. Fleischer, MD

W. Faxon Payne, MD, who helped establish the outpatient radiology service at The Vanderbilt Clinic beginning in 1987 until his appointment as emeritus professor in 1995 and retirement in 2000, died Feb. 16. He was 95.

W. Faxon Payne, MD

“VUMC and the Department of Radiology mourn the recent passing of Dr. Payne, a lifelong supporter and former faculty member. He was an exemplary icon to those of us who were fortunate enough to count him as a professional, personal friend and mentor,” said Art Fleischer, MD, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Radiology and Radiological Services.

Dr. Payne began his Vanderbilt career as a college student, serving as both the kicker for the Commodore’s football team and drum major for the band. He then enrolled in medical school in an accelerated wartime program and completed an OB-GYN residency and subsequently another in radiology.

Dr. Payne served as a flight surgeon during the Korean War, during which time he was involved in the development of the first space suits. To the astonishment of both family members and many of his colleagues, he would relate his experiences being ejected from an airplane cockpit at high altitudes in order to test prototypes.

“Dr. Payne was a trusted friend and colleague to many institutional leaders such as our departmental chair A. Everette James Jr., MD, Medical Center Chancellor Dr. Ike Robinson and Dean John Chapman,” Fleischer said.

“His commitment to the advancement of the practice of radiology was exemplified by founding two local radiology societies. These served as wonderful opportunities for the exchange and discussion of new imaging techniques. His memory serves as a reminder to many of us on how a positive attitude and caring demeanor can impact medical care and the greater wellbeing for those we serve.”


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