August 25, 2014

Retired longtime professor James Caulfield passes away

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Caufield-obit-photoJames B. Caulfield, M.D., long-time faculty member of the UAB School of Medicine, passed away Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014 and was buried Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. He was 87.

Caulfield joined the Department of Pathology in the UAB School of Medicine and the School of Dentistry in 1984, recruited for his interest in cardiovascular diseases and teaching.  He stayed at UAB for 20 years, focusing his career on both clinical research and patient care.

“He was interested in cardiovascular diseases, not just how they affect patient outcomes in transplantation, but also how diseases like diabetes affect the heart,” said C. Bruce Alexander, M.D., professor and vice chair of Pathology.  

Throughout his career, Caulfield conducted research in a variety of medical conditions including muscular dystrophy, diabetes, cancer, severe burns and heart disease. While at Massachusetts General Hospital, he was instrumental in the formulation of balloon angioplasty and was honored by colleagues with the name, "the balloon man.”

Caulfield received his medical degree from the University of Illinois and interned at the Cook County Hospital. After residency and post doctorate work in anatomical pathology, he taught at Harvard University. Caulfield was Chairman of the Pathology Department at the University of South Carolina before coming to UAB.

Alexander says Caulfield remained active in research and in helping patients—even attending weekly seminars with department faculty— after his retirement as professor emeritus in 2004.

Born on New Year’s Day 1927 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. A member of the V12 program during World War II, he then served as a Marine Corp physician during the Korean War.

Caulfield is preceded in death by his beloved wife Virginia and survived by his children Ann, John and Clare; his grandchildren Ben, Leslie and Parker; his great grandchildren Teagan and Kathleen; and by his brother L. Thomas Caulfield.

The family asked that donations be made in memory of Caulfield to the UAB Department of Pathology. To donate, click this link, or mail a check, made out to the UAB Department of Pathology, to: Virginia Gilbert Loftin, UAB School of Medicine, FOT 1230, 1720 Second Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294-3412.