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In Memoriam: Aaron D. Bannett, MD

Mar 24, 2017

The American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) is deeply saddened by the passing of charter member Aaron D. Bannett, MD, on March 22, 2017. He was 93.

Dr. Bannett performed one of the first kidney transplants in the Philadelphia area and began the organ transplant program at Albert Einstein Medical Center, where he served as Director 1966-1989 and Chairman of Surgery 1972-1979. In 1984 he founded the Bannett Transplant Institute of Philadelphia.

He was also a co-founder of the Greater Delaware Valley Society of Transplant Surgeons in 1972, which is now the Gift of Life Donor Program.

Dr. Bannett was chair of the first ASTS Nominating Committee, which determined the ballot for the Society’s first elections. He was also named to the Bylaws Committee during the national organizational meeting in October 1974.

The book commemorating the Society’s 20th anniversary noted, “The initial idea for an organization to unite transplant surgeons throughout the U.S. appears to have been conceived somewhat simultaneously by Drs. John Bergen, Frederick K. Merkel, and Aaron Bannett.”

Dr. Bannett wrote some reminiscences in the book, including, “We addressed the question of what type of society it should be: a renal transplant society that would include nonsurgeons? or a surgical transplant society that would include other organs? I think we were quite prescient in feeling that it should be a society for surgeons, that there would be other organs, and that there would be surgeons whose primary specialty was transplantation. … It was very exciting for me to have been there at the beginning, to have felt the need for ASTS, and to see it grow to such an important part of our profession.”

Dr. Bannett is survived by his wife Joy, children Jonathan (Charla) and Michael (Ana) Bannett, sister Selma Schwartz, stepchildren Ben Allanoff and Nancy (Will) Braveman, daughter in-law Andrea Allanoff, as well as 10 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife BettyAnn, sister Eleanor Weinberg, and step-son Daniel Allanoff.

The memorial service will be held Sunday, March 26 at 11 a.m. at Gift of Life, 401 N. Third Street, Philadelphia. Shiva will follow the service at the late residence until 8 p.m.

Contribution in his name may be made to The Gift of Life Foundation and The Daniel B. Allanoff Foundation. Notes for the family may be left at