John H. Stone, IV, MD, MACP

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of John H. Stone, IV, MD, MACP on November 5, 2008.  Dr. Stone was Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Emeritus and Associate Dean for Admissions Emeritus in Emory University School of Medicine.  Beloved teacher, mentor, cardiologist, poet, and essayist, he focused his entire career, in medicine and as an author, on matters of the heart, memorialized in his books of essays and poems in which he explored the link between medicine and literature.

Dr. Stone spent the first half of his career as a School of Medicine faculty physician at Grady Memorial Hospital, where he founded and directed the residency program in Emergency Medicine, now a full Department at Emory.  For the last 19 years on the full-time faculty, he was also Associate Dean for Admissions at the School of Medicine.  He achieved popularity and success as a teacher, receiving the School’s Best Clinical Professor award several times.  Generations of patients, students, faculty, and staff have benefitted from his kindness, intelligence, and creative wit, here at Emory and nationally.

In 1993, Dr. Stone created one of the first medical school courses combining literature and medicine.  He also taught the course for several years at England’s Oxford University as part of Emory’s Summer Studies Program.  Though he began writing in the eighth grade, his literary career started with The Smell of Matches, published by Rutgers University Press in 1972, which won an award from the Georgia Writers Association.  Renaming the Streets (1985) won the Literature Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, whose recipients also include Walker Percy, Ellen Gilchrist, and Barry Hannah.  Dr. Stone wrote the libretto for Canticles of Time, a choral symphony (music by Samuel Jones) that won the Music Award of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (1991).  In 2001, Dr. Stone and Emory professor and pianist, William Ransom, performed a program called “The Poet and the Pianist” at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York.  Dr. Stone was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2007.  He was quoted as saying that he believed his duty as a writer was to prepare for “a good death.”

The grandson of a general practitioner, Dr. Stone was born February 7, 1936, in Jackson, Mississippi.  He received his BA from Millsaps College in Jackson in 1958 and his MD from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1962.  He completed his residency in medicine and cardiology at the University of Rochester in New York and a fellowship in cardiology at Emory, where he took a position with the medical school faculty in 1969.  He received many academic awards for his contributions to medicine and to literature, including three honorary degrees, the Mastership designation (MACP) from The American College of Physicians, induction as an Honorary Fellow of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Alumni Achievement Award from Washington University in May 2007.  He read and spoke at celebratory events at over 150 institutions in 40 states and gave named lectures at such institutions as Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Virginia, American College of Physicians, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Brown, The Mayo Clinic, and The Cleveland Clinic.

Other books that he authored or co-authored include In All This Rain (1980), Where Water Begins: New Poems and Prose (1998), In the Country of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine (1990), A Bridge Across the Dark, and Principles and Practices of Emergency Medicine (1978, the first comprehensive textbook in the specialty).  Music from Apartment 8: New and Selected Poems was the latest book (2004).  An anthology of literature and medicine that he co-edited with Richard Reynolds entitled On Doctoring: Stories, Poems, Essays (1991), has been given to every US medical student since 1991 – over 275,000 copies have been distributed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Dr. Stone was also a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine, in addition to his many scholarly publications in prestigious medical journals.