Massachusetts doctor, neurosurgery pioneer, dies


BOSTON (AP) -- Dr. Charles A. Fager, a Massachusetts doctor hailed as a pioneer in neurosurgery, died Tuesday at his home, according to Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington. He was 90.

Fager, a flight surgeon and captain in the Air Force, served as president of the Neurosurgical Society of America and chaired the neurosurgery department at Lahey. He joined the department in 1953 and it later named its neurosurgery endowment fund and the department chair in his honor.

Fager was also a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and he authored a textbook of neurosurgery, "Atlas of Spinal Surgery." His research focused, in part, on patients who had undergone unsuccessful spinal surgery. He was recognized by the Neurological Society of America for his contributions to increasing the understanding of spinal disorders and making treatment of patients with spinal disorders simpler and safer, according to Lahey Hospital.

The 1968 Horse of the Year, Dr. Fager, who holds the world record for fastest mile on dirt and is considered to be one of the greatest horses in American history, was named after him. The horse's trainer, John Nerud, credited the doctor with saving his life.

He is survived by his wife, their three surviving children, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild. A celebration of his life will be held May 16 at Lahey Hospital. The family is requesting memorial contributions be made to the hospital.


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