The Washington State Orthopaedic Society mourns the loss of our former President and Board member Preston Phillips, M.D., FAAOS, FAOA, FSRS and JRGOS, who was senselessly killed last week in a mass shooting in his office at St. Francis Hospital, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, along with three other victims while tending to his clinical duties. The shooter has been identified as a patient of Dr. Phillips who was unhappy with his pain management after back surgery.
Those who were lucky enough to know him during his time in the Pacific Northwest remember Dr. Phillips as an eminently well-regarded Orthopaedic Surgeon. Dr. Phillips practiced in Seattle from 1998 through 2003 at Swedish Medical Center as member of the Seattle Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic. He was elected as President of the Washington State Orthopaedic Association in 2002, and served his term with distinction until his departure to Tulsa for a new practice opportunity.
Dr. Phillips is fondly remembered literally and figuratively as a gentle giant in our specialty. His story is an all-American story of accomplishment attained through talent, hard work and outstanding character. His all-too sudden loss due to deranged violence sadly ended his shining career and life prematurely.
Born in 1963 in Saginaw, Michigan as one of 9 children, his educational foundations were unique. Dr. Phillips attained three bachelor’s degrees at Emory from Chemistry, Theology and Organic Chemistry. He completed Medical School at Harvard, followed by his Orthopaedic Internship and Residency at Yale, and fellowship specialty training in Spine surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. He also completed advanced AO Fracture and Trauma skills, training alongside recognized leaders in their fields. As an Orthopaedic Surgeon he applied his bandwidth serving his patients as a dedicated spine, total joint and fracture surgeon. His focus on unconditional service to his patients was always delivered with wisdom, kindness, and a friendly demeanor. Beyond his practice in Seattle and later Tulsa, Dr. Phillips also applied his knowledge to those in need overseas by regularly serving in the Republic of Togo, West Africa as a volunteer Orthopaedic Surgeon. This volunteer service further reflects the selfless dedication Dr. Phillips routinely applied to his patients- regardless of their problems and station in life. With this knowledge, it is with particular sadness that we try to comprehend the loss of this cherished colleague.
Please consider joining the WSOA in remembrance of Dr. Preston Phillips by donating to the St. Francis Hospital Emergency Fund:
With gratitude and condolences,
WSOA Board of Directors