Rep. Giffords' surgeon hails from Philadelphia

The neurosurgeon who operated on Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in Tucson Saturday is a local boy.

G. Michael Lemole Jr. grew up on a 70-acre farm in Huntingdon Valley, graduated from Chestnut Hill Academy — he was first in his class — and went to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. That was after he got an undergraduate degree in biology at

His father, Gerald M. Lemole, who is now retired but was a prominent heart surgeon who led cardiac surgery programs at Temple University, Christiana Care in Delaware and Deborah Heart and Lung Center in New Jersey, has been watching developments in Tucson proudly.

“I think he’s handling himself very very well,” said the elder Lemole. He goes by “G Daddy” now that there is a third Gerald Michael Lemole among his 15 grandchildren.

Lemole Jr. is the only doctor among his six siblings, but a sister is married to Memet Oz, a well known heart surgeon who has his own TV show. Oz spent part of his youth in Delaware and is also a Penn medical school grad.

G. Michael Lemole Jr., 42, has been in Tucson for just about a year, his father said. He is married to a pediatric intensive care nurse and has five children. He was taking a golf
lesson Saturday when he got the call telling him to rush to the hospital.

His father called him a “no nonsense” guy who gets things done.

The younger Lemole is chief of the division of neurosurgery at the University of Arizona Department of Surgery and University Medical Center. He wants to create a neuroscience institute at the hospital, his father said.

The shooting has shown the value of having top notch medical care in town, Lemole Sr. said. He hopes that will help his son achieve his goal.