After 28 years as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, I am done. Although it breaks my heart, I will no longer be Richard Bosshardt, MD, FACS. If you want to know why, read on.
When I was in my surgical training, I first noted that some of the attending surgeons had the initials, FACS after the MD behind their name. I learned that this stood for Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The ACS represents all surgical specialties.
Fellowship in the College was more than just a matter of applying, paying a fee, and getting a certificate. To be considered, you had to have an unrestricted medical license and be board-certified in a surgical specialty by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties. You had to have been in a full-time practice in one location for at least one year. You had to have unrestricted hospital privileges and no reportable actions against you. You had to have references from two Fellows of the College. Once you were elected to Fellowship, there was a ceremony at the annual meeting of the ACS, very much like a graduation ceremony, in full cap and gown, at which new Fellows pledged to always adhere to, and uphold, the highest standards of surgical practice and always place the care of their patients first and foremost. (Please continue to page 2- see below)