Fraser Lewis, MD, has delivered more than 5,000 infants throughout his 31-year career, 25 years of which were spent at University Medical Center at Princeton (UMCP), so he understandably maintains countless personal and professional ties to the hospital. Yet despite so many babies over so many years, he points to a personal inpatient experience at UMCP as one of his most significant.
It was 1997 - only five years into his retirement - and Dr. Lewis was trying to figure out what direction he should take for treatment of his prostate cancer. He had already planned a personal trip to Wisconsin, so the obvious choice at the time was to make an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to see one of the doctors there. Additionally, on the advice of his personal physician, he also went to see prostate cancer specialist Patrick C. Walsh, MD, at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Yet after visits to both Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic - two of the finest medical institutions in the world - he decided to treat his cancer right here at home, at University Medical Center at Princeton.
Since 1997, Dr. Lewis, now 74 and healthy, has maintained his relationship with UMCP in a number of ways, but most recently, his support came in the form of a six-figure donation to UMCP's Maternal-Child Health Program as Princeton HealthCare System begins construction on a state-of-the-art facility on an expansive 50-acre site within a 160-acre health campus in Plainsboro.
Dr. Lewis is now leading the campaign to get other retired physicians involved in the hospital's fund-raising process. Dr. Lewis believes strongly in the cause he's championing.
"The hospital needs to grow. We all knew that before long, we were going to run into space limitations on the hospital's current site," he says.
Princeton HealthCare System reached out to Dr. Lewis about eight years ago to help with development, and he jumped on board. The entire development effort, Dr. Lewis says, is a bit awe-inspiring:
"When you talk about the number of dollars they're trying to raise, it's always impressive to think about the fact that the hospital is going to be able to succeed - there are so many people out there who are really invested in this project," he notes.
Dr. Lewis, an ardent golfer and avid gardener, and his wife, Maxine, still live at their home of 40 years in Hopewell Township, and hope to see the hospital continue the tradition of being a first-rate facility - a drawing factor when Dr. Lewis joined the medical staff in 1967.
But even before then, UMCP had been a presence for the Pittsburgh native. A Princeton University Class of 1956 graduate who took his OB/GYN residency at Temple University Hospital, Dr. Lewis went to Germany in the mid-1960s, owing the government three years, all the while practicing OB/GYN.
Upon returning, Dr. Lewis responded to an advertisement in Princeton Alumni Weekly, posted by three OB/GYNs located in a "college town" looking for a fourth physician.
The locale was Princeton, of course, and Dr. Lewis has been here ever since. He and Maxine raised four sons and have two grandsons and one granddaughter. Dr. Lewis is now looking forward, both for his family and the hospital community. He is committed to helping the institution that has played such a big personal and professional role throughout his life.