Eugene A. Hildreth, Medicine

Dr. Eugene A. (“Pat”) Hildreth, emeritus professor of medicine, died January 5 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. He was 93.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Hildreth received his medical degree from the University of Virginia, completed his internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital and then became chief resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and an assistant instructor of medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine. He spent two years in the Navy/CIA serving in the Far East 1951-1953, where he was the chief medical officer of a MASH unit as well as the personal physician for Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. After his military service, Dr. Hildreth returned to Philadelphia.

First an instructor of medicine, he went on to become an associate professor in 1961 and associate dean in 1965. In 1969, he resigned his position to accept the role of chief of medicine at Reading Hospital, a position he held until 1996, but his work at Penn did not end at that point. In 1972, he became a professor of clinical medicine as well as a professor in the department of allergy and immunology. In 1990, Dr. Hildreth earned emeritus status.

Dr. Hildreth served as chairman of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the chairman of the Federated Council of Internal Medicine and chairman of the Board and later president of the American College of Physicians (ACP). While with the ACP, the largest medical specialty organization in the world, he led the organization in seeking reform of health care in America. He was a co-author of the ACP’s first paper describing the need for “Universal Access to Health Care.” Dr. Hildreth was elected to the Council of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science in Washington (IOM). He was invited to testify before congressional committees in Washington on subjects including bioethics, living wills and access to health care. Dr. Hildreth published more than 150 articles, editorials and chapters, and he served as a co-author of the American College of Physicians Manual on Bioethics, 2nd Edition.

Dr. Hildreth was selected to participate in a national working group that included former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford to address the issue of “How to Implement the 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution in the Event of Disability of a United States President.” Dr. Hildreth was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medicine (Singapore). He was recognized by the International Who’s Who as well as Who’s Who in America.

Dr. Hildreth is survived by his children, Jeffrey (Cynthia), William (Joan), Anne and Katherine Hooven (Robert); six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.