He ended up moving to California where he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 1955.
At the time of his death, he was Chief of the Melanoma Program at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California. He published in excess of 600 articles in peer reviewed journals and received funding for his research from the National Institutes of Health for 35 years. As Director of the John Wayne Cancer Institute"s Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, Doctor Morton trained more than 100 postdoctoral fellows, most of whom hold academic positions in medical schools or cancer institutes.
He grew up during the Great Depression in a home without running water or electricity.
Due to his economically disadvantaged status, he was able to attend Berea College in Kentucky on a full scholarship. He then went on to earn a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 1958.
In 1960, he became a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He later returned to California and joined the faculty at University of California, Los Angeles, where he became Chief of Surgical Oncology in 1971.
While at University of California, Los Angeles, he treated the actor John Wayne, who died of gastric cancer in 1979.
In 1991, seeking more space, Morton expanded the clinic into the John Wayne Cancer Institute and affiliated with Saint John"s Health Center in nearby Santa Monica, California. In 1989, he discovered a mole on his abdomen that turned out to be melanoma. lieutenant was caught early and successfully removed surgically.
Morton spent the better part of four decades trying to develop a therapeutic vaccine for melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer.
lieutenant is estimated that 76,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States alone in 2014. Doctor Morton was a past President of the International Sentinel Node Society, the Society of Surgical Oncology and the World Federation of Surgical Oncology Societies.
In 2008 the American College of Surgeons awarded him with the Jacobson Innovations Award for his groundbreaking work in sentinel lymph node evaluation. Morton died of heart failure at the age of 79 on January 10, 2014.
Served with United States Public Health Service, 1960-1969. Member American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, American Association Cancer Education, American Association Cancer Research, American Association Thoracic Surgery, American Association Immunologists, American College Chest Physicians, American Radium Society (science program committee 1990), American Society Experimental Pathology, American Society Clinical Oncology (chairman nominating committee 1976-1977), American Society Microbiology, American Surgical Association, Association Academy Surgery, Bay Surg.Soc., Los Angeles County Medical Association, Los Angeles Surgical Society, Naffziger Surgical Society, Pacific Coast Surgical Association, Pan-Pacific Surgical Association, Physician's Aid Association, Reticuloendothelial Society, Societe Internationale de Chirurgie, Society Head and Neck Surgeons, Society Surgical Oncology (ad hoc committee clinical research 1976-1981, chairman government relations committee 1984-1985, vice president 1990), Society U. Surgeons, Transplantation Society, Western Medical Research Association, Western Thoracic Surgical Society, Association International Federation Surgical Colls., International Society for Preventive Oncology, Inc. (science advising committee), Surgical Biology Club, S.W. Oncology Group (melanoma committee 1990). M C.
Married Wilma Miley (dec.Aug. 1982); children: Diana Lynn, Laura Ann, Donald Junior, Christin Helene. Married Lorraine Russo, June 4, 1989.