Infectious diseases ‘giant’ John Bartlett: His ‘impact will endure’


Sharing memories via social media

Reactions to Dr. Bartlett’s passing on Twitter were swift.

“We have lost one of the greatest physicians I have ever met or had the privilege to learn from. Saddened to hear of Dr. John G. Bartlett’s passing. He inspired so many, including me, to choose the field of infectious diseases,” David Fisk, MD, infectious disease specialist in Santa Barbara, Calif., wrote on Twitter.

“John Bartlett just died – a true visionary and the classic ‘Renaissance’ person in clinical ID. Such a nice guy, too! His IDSA/IDWeek literature summaries (among other things) were amazing. We’ll miss him!” Dr. Sax tweeted on Jan. 19.

A colleague at Johns Hopkins, transplant infectious disease specialist Shmuel Shoham, MD, shared an anecdote about Dr. Bartlett on Twitter: “Year ago. My office is across from his. I ask him what he is doing. He tells me he is reviewing a file from the Vatican to adjudicate whether a miracle happened. True story.”

Infectious disease specialist Graeme Forrest, MBBS, also shared a story about Dr. Bartlett via Twitter. “He described to me in 2001 how the U.S. model of health care would not cope with a pandemic or serious bioterror attack as it’s not connected to disseminate information. How prescient from 20 years ago.”

Dr. Bartlett shared his expertise at many national and international infectious disease conferences over the years. He also authored 470 articles, 282 book chapters, and 61 editions of 14 books.

Dr. Bartlett was also a regular contributor to this news organization. For example, he shared his expertise in perspective pieces that addressed priorities in antibiotic stewardship, upcoming infectious disease predictions, and critical infectious disease topics in a three-part series.

Dr. Bartlett’s education includes a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., in 1959 and an MD from Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1963. He did his first 2 years of residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

He also served as an Army captain from 1965 to 1967, treating patients in fever wards in Vietnam. He then returned to the United States to finish his internal medicine training at the University of Alabama in 1968.

Dr. Bartlett completed his fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1975, he joined the faculty at Tufts University, Boston.

Leaving a legacy

Dr. Bartlett’s influence will likely live on in many ways at Johns Hopkins.

“John is a larger-than-life legend whose impact will endure and after whom we are so proud to have named our clinical service, The Bartlett Specialty Practice,” Dr. Thomas said.

The specialty practice clinic named for him has 23 exam rooms and features multidisciplinary care for people with HIV, hepatitis, bone infections, general infectious diseases, and more. Furthermore, friends, family, and colleagues joined forces to create the “Dr. John G. Bartlett HIV/AIDS Fund.”

They note that it is “only appropriate that we honor him by creating an endowment that will provide support for young trainees and junior faculty in the division, helping them transition to their independent careers.”

In addition to all his professional accomplishments, “He was also a genuinely nice person, approachable and humble,” Dr. Sax said. “We really lost a great one!”

A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.


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