photo of ballroom at the Plaza Hotel

Hugh J. Carroll, MD

photo of Hugh Carroll

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Hugh Carroll came to the USA at the age of 12 from Belfast, Northern Ireland. A few months before graduation from high school he was inducted into the army and served in France as a paratrooper with the 13th Airborne Division.

After the war, Dr. Carroll attended Fordham University on scholarship (1946-50), and with the help of the GI bill, New York University School of Medicine (1950-54). He trained in internal medicine at the Bellevue-NYU system, spending his last year as a chief resident. He then had fellowship training in nephrology, after which he remained as a faculty member in the Department of Medicine at NYU from 1958 to 1964. In 1964, he was recruited to SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where he was a researcher, clinical teacher, and attending physician for over 30 years.

At Downstate, Dr. Carroll established the Electrolyte and Hypertension Division. Here, Dr. Carroll provided much of the early information on platelet water and electrolyte composition. One of his most outstanding academic achievements has been the comprehensive description of the pathophysiology of non-ketotic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar coma, the result of two years of work with Dr. Allen Arieff, a chief resident at Kings County Hospital at the time. Their seminal paper on this topic appeared in the journal Medicine, and remains one of the most widely cited papers in medicine. Dr. Carroll also established the Hypertension Clinic at Kings County Hospital, and with the support of Department of Health, N.Y.C., opened a free hypertension clinic in the community.

For the past 40 odd years, he taught renal physiology, and for some years in the past pathology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. He was frequently invited to other departments and divisions for lectures, grand rounds, and case reviews; and was invited as a visiting professor, to give lectures on electrolyte disorders at many institutions in the U.S. and in several foreign countries. He was an acclaimed teacher, mentor and senior advisor to hundred of students, who kept up correspondence with him. Dr. Carroll retired from medical school more than 10 years ago, but still came to school almost every day to teach students, medical residents, and renal fellows. His formal teaching load in his retirement exceeded those of most full time faculty members.

Dr. Carroll received numerous honors and citations by the medical school, students, the house staff, and alumni, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to medical education. His many accolades include:

  • Establishment of the Hugh J. Carroll Library in the Department of Medicine in recognition of outstanding and life-long dedication to medical education
  • Funding of a scholarship in Dr. Carroll's name by a former student
  • Naming of the annual award for best clinical teacher the "Hugh J Carroll Clinician Award"
  • An award from the American College of Physicians for Outstanding Contributions to Internal Medicine
  • A Career Science Award from the New York City Health Research Council
  • An honorary Doctor of Science degree by SUNY Downstate. In the letter informing Dr. Carroll of the honorary degree, President John LaRosa stated: "Your contributions to medicine are greatly admired by your colleagues here at SUNY Downstate. I can think of no faculty member of Downstate more deserving of this honor."

Dr. Carroll's wide ranging and life-long interests included: history; philosophy; religion; languages, especially ancient languages; music; logic; and of course, medical science. In addition to his love of classical music in general and opera in particular, he was a life-long fan of jazz particularly of 1930s and 40s variety. He was a rabid fan of baseball, and for 15 years, he was a consultant to the New York Road Runners, and worked in the acute care tent at the finish line of the New York Marathon, caring for the runners with disorders of hydration and dysthermia. He frequently lectured in New York and elsewhere throughout the world about the metabolic aspects of marathon running.

Dr. Carroll passed away on December 18, 2010.