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Former UM Urology Chair Dies

2/16/2010

Victor Politano, M.D., chairman of urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine from 1972 – 1990 and professor emeritus, died this weekend at the age of 91. Politano earned numerous accolades and awards during his lengthy career, including the Ramon Guiteras Award from the American Urological Association in 2003 and the Pediatric Urology Medal in 1996. He also served as the President of the American Urological Association in 1984.

Politano is best known for developing what is called the Politano-Leadbetter technique to correct vesicoureteral reflux. This procedure revolutionized the treatment of reflux which caused recurrent urinary tract infections and eventual renal impairment from progressive hydronephrosis and infection. The principle of the surgery was to restore a submucosal tunnel and thus eliminate the reflux of urine to the kidney during increased bladder pressure as in the process of voiding.

He attended medical school and did his residency at Duke University before moving to Boston to accept a faculty position at Harvard University, working at Massachusetts General Hospital. As a pioneer in the field of urology, Politano was trained to tackle any case of urology, from pediatric to adult. It was not unusual for him to operate on a child and an adult in the same day.

Mark S. Soloway, M.D., current professor and chairman of urology, describes Politano as a “true legend in the field of urology… who was charismatic and impressive.” At the University of Miami, Politano’s reputation as a leader in the urologic field drew many foreign physicians to UM to watch him perform surgery, particularly from Central and South America. “Vic” as he was known by close friends, “put the UM Department of Urology on the map,” said Soloway.

In 1982, the Victor A. Politano Endowed Chair in Urology was established at UM and is currently held by Charles Lynne, M.D. Politano, called “Chief” by his residents, was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award by UM in 1995. Politano left UM in 1997 to go into private practice until 2005.

Politano is survived by his wife, Aida; five children, Jonathan, Dr. Victor Politano Jr., Dr. Mike Politano, Mrs. Libby Harvey and Mrs. Rebecca Wilson; 17 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Miami Jewish Health Systems, (305) 751-8626, 5200 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami, Florida 33137.