James F. FitzGerald

James FitzGerald, MDJames F. FitzGerald, MD, is a board-certified attending surgeon in the MedStar Colorectal Surgery Program, MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC) and MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. In addition, he is an assistant professor of clinical surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Dr. FitzGerald specializes in colon and rectal surgery, using the latest treatment options and advanced techniques to increase quality of life for his patients. At MWHC, he serves as program director for the residency program in colon and rectal surgery, and he serves on the Robotic Surgery Steering Committee and the committees for Graduate Medical Education and Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The Department of Surgery at MWHC has twice bestowed upon him the Keystone Educator Award. His other honors include the Pharmacology Research Award from Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Dr. FitzGerald is frequently asked to present his work at hospitals and professional meetings on topics including anorectal disorders, bowel obstruction, and the surgical management and indications for transanal resection. In addition, he has coauthored chapters on ischemic colitis, ileostomy and minimally invasive approaches to anorectal disorders. His research results have been reported in the American Journal of Surgery, Colorectal Disease, and other peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. FitzGerald is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ASCRS). He is president of the Chesapeake Colorectal Society, and he serves on the Healthcare Economics Committee for ASCRS. He holds memberships in the Association of Program Directors of Colon and Rectal Surgery and in other surgical and colorectal societies.

His medical degree is from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in surgery at the University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT, and a fellowship in surgical outcomes research at Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT. Dr. FitzGerald continued his education with fellowships in surgical critical care at the University of Connecticut and in colon and rectal surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ.

Research Interests

Dr. FitzGerald’s research interests include the following:

  • Colon, rectal and anal cancer
  • Robotic surgery
  • Transanal endoscopic microsurgery for rectal tumors
  • Anal and perianal disorders
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Ischemic colitis

Selected Research

Chemotherapy Alone or Chemotherapy Plus Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients With Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer Undergoing Surgery (the PROSPECT study)

Dr. FitzGerald is a co-investigator on this study sponsored by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, National Cancer Institute. Although radiation therapy has been a standard part of rectal cancer treatment, some patients experience undesirable side effects from the radiation. This study is designed to compare the effects of the standard treatment of chemotherapy and radiation to chemotherapy using a combination regimen known as FOLFOX (the drugs 5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin and leucovorin) and selective use of the standard treatment, depending on patient response to the FOLFOX regimen. Dr. FitzGerald is involved in the screening and recruiting of patients for this Phase 2 and 3 trial.

Multi-Center Randomized Trial Evaluating 3-Year Disease-Free Survival in Patients With Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer

This research will test whether patients with locally advanced rectal cancer treated with total neoadjuvant therapy and total mesorectal excision or non-operative management will have improved survival compared with patients treated with chemoradiation therapy, total mesorectal excision and adjuvant chemotherapy. As a co-investigator on this project sponsored by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. FitzGerald is involved in screening and recruiting patients for this Phase 2 study.

Radiation Therapy and Fluorouracil With or Without Combination Chemotherapy Followed by Surgery in Patients With Rectal Cancer

Providing radiation therapy and chemotherapy together before surgery may shrink the tumor and reduce the amount of tissue needing removal. This Phase 2 trial, sponsored by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is designed to study how radiation therapy together with fluorouracil and with or without combination therapy works in treating patients undergoing surgery for stage 2 or 3 rectal cancer. As a co-investigator on this project, Dr. FitzGerald is involved in screening and recruiting patients for this study.

View Dr. FitzGerald’s publications on PubMed.

Visit Dr. FitzGerald’s clinical practice page.

  • Research Areas
  • Other Medical
  • Other Surgical