Little time passed before he made his mark, too.
In the early 1970s, he pioneered plasma exchange patients, including those with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura – a rare clotting disorder. Over a career spanning three decades, his department at Wishard Hospital – now known as Eskenazi Hospital would transfuse more blood products than any medical center in the United States. He was instrumental in developing liver and bone marrow transplant programs at University Hospital. And in the 1980s, Dr. McCarty spent nearly every night and weekend on-call, providing complex therapeutic support to AIDS patients.
He acted as the state’s inspector and accreditation area chairman for the American Association of Blood Banks for two decades. Dr. McCarthy served on the board of the Indiana Blood Center, and served on the board – including as president – of the Indiana State Association of Blood Banks. Internationally, Dr. McCarthy was the U.S. representative on the Board of the International Society of Blood Transfusion.
Yet Dr. McCarthy is also highly-regard as a researcher, authoring more than 300 papers and 18 book chapters. Meanwhile, he has delivered more than 203 invited lectures.
As a teacher, Dr. McCarthy not only lectured in Indianapolis but routinely drove to teach at the IU School of Medicine’s regional campuses. For 32 years, he handled daily lectures for pathology and resident rotations, along with sessions for second-year students on transfusion science and general pathology.
He has also generously given back to the school. In 1997, he established the Leo J. McCarthy, M.D. Lectureship in Transfusion Medicine. And two years ago he established the Leo J. McCarthy History of Medicine Lectureship, ensuring future generations of aspiring physicians will know the roots of their profession.
While Dr. McCarthy retired in 2003, he remains actively involved in transfusion medicine. In 2014, he was presented with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. He is also an alumnus member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society at the school.
He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Nebraska. He completed his residency at Stanford University and served his nation for two years as a field surgeon in Vietnam.
Dr. McCarthy will be honored on May 20, 2017 at the 70th Annual Strawberry Shortcake Luncheon at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.