Dr. James T. Goodrich dedicated his life to saving children with complex neurological conditions. He was a pioneer in this field and developed a multi-stage approach for separating craniopagus twins who are fused at the brain and skull. In 2016, he famously led a team of 40 doctors in a 27-hour procedure to separate the MacDonald twins. Throughout his distinguished career, he became known as the world’s leading expert on this lifesaving procedure. He was consulted on hundreds of cases, and he routinely traveled the world sharing his vast knowledge and expertise with colleagues.
Originally from Oregon, Dr. Goodrich served as a Marine during the Vietnam war, during which time he decided his next step would be to pursue a medical career. Not only was he an elite surgeon, but over the years he was also a generous mentor and teacher who shared his craft with many young surgeons who wanted to follow in his footsteps.
Dr. Goodrich completed his undergraduate work at the University of California, Irvine and his graduate studies at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University, receiving a Masters and Doctorate of Philosophy. He received his Doctorate of Medicine from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Intern and residency training was completed at Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and the New York Neurological Institute. He also holds the rank of Professor Contralto of Neurological Surgery at the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy.
He spent more than 30 years at Montefiore Einstein and was the Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Montefiore and Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery, Pediatrics, Plastic, and Reconstructive Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Dr. Goodrich was a humble and truly caring man. He did not crave the limelight and was beloved by his colleagues and staff. Every year, he baked holiday cookies and hand-delivered them to the nurses at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. Outside of his work, he was also known for his passion for historical artifacts, travel, and surfing.
His residents posted the following tribute that beautifully captures the collective sentiment: "James T. Goodrich, our beloved colleague, mentor, teacher, and brother-in-arms, passed away this morning. As a last act of service to others, he will forever remind us that COVID-19 is not a faceless disease. He will always be in our hearts."
Dr. Goodrich was a CNS member for 33 years.
Our sympathy and prayers go out to his wife Judy, his three sisters, and all those who were close to him.