Marcel Obituary UCLA

Dr. Marcel Krauthammer

UCLA / VA Pulmonologist, Critical Care Specialist and Gifted Teacher
May 10, 1946 ~ January 17, 2006


Dr. Marcel Krauthammer (Northridge resident), a pulmonologist and adjunct professor of medicine for 23 years at UCLA and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, died Jan. 17, 2006 from metastatic brain cancer. He was 59.

Serving as director of the medical intensive care unit at the VA Medical Center at Sepulveda for 17 years, Krauthammer treated the most critically ill patients suffering from conditions such as AIDS, renal failure, heart attack and acute respiratory failure.

A gifted teacher, Krauthammer received many awards for his commitment to excellence in teaching, patient care and academics. He was awarded the Golden Apple Award three times from the UCLA-San Fernando Valley Medical Program housestaff, an annual honor given to the most outstanding teacher from the training program. He also received several faculty awards including Teacher of the Year in 1996 and the Clinical Faculty Teaching Award in 1980.

"Marcel’s dedication to life-long learning made him an excellent teacher and role model for students, faculty and staff. His enthusiasm and energy were awe-inspiring," said Dr. Michael S. Golub, emeritus professor and former chair, UCLA-San Fernando Valley Medical Program and former chief of medicine at the Sepulveda VA.

Krauthammer truly enjoyed his students and specialized in reading X-rays of the chest and lungs. He would present "mystery" X-rays and students in class as well as colleagues at regional conferences, would try and identify the condition or disease. His extensive chest X-ray collection was recently donated to the UCLA Department of Radiology and continues to be used for teaching purposes.

"Marcel was relentless in his pursuit of knowledge and in tracking down solutions to medical problems. He passed this motivation on to everyone he taught," said Dr. Irwin Ziment, emeritus professor and former chief of medicine at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, who knew Krauthammer for 31 years.

Krauthammer’s life also reflected a commitment to his patients. During his years in the medical intensive care unit, he also studied medical ethics and Jewish bio-ethics Halachah/ law in order to better guide patients and their families through critical end-of-life decisions. He also served several years as an expert on the VA’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee.

Active in professional organizations, Krauthammer served as president of the Trudeau Society of Greater Los Angeles, which is associated with the American Lung Association and composed of academic and private pulmonologists. He received the David Salkin Award presented to a member who best embodies the principles, goals and spirit of this group.

Krauthammer was a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. He also chaired pulmonary care symposiums and research conferences in Southern California.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he completed his undergraduate work at McGill, Canada and received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in 1971. Post-graduate Internal Medicine training was at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New York, and Fellowship in Respiratory Medicine at Harbor General/UCLA Medical Center.  Krauthammer started his medical career at UCLA and the VA as a staff physician in 1977 and retired in 2000.

Diagnosed in 1988 with a rare esthesioneuroblastoma*, Krauthammer continued to teach and work despite numerous treatments and two dozen surgeries. Throughout his struggle, he maintained his interest and enthusiasm for medicine, sports, humor, puzzles and religion. His dedication and courage will be remembered by his family, friends, colleagues and patients.

"One of the most determined people I’ve ever known, Marcel played to win. The only battle he lost was with cancer. He will be sorely missed," said Ziment.

Krauthammer is survived by his devoted wife of 31 years, Joy Krauthammer, his daughter and son-in-law, Aviva and Brett Freedman, his mother, Thea Krauthammer and his brother, Dr. Charles Krauthammer.
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* In 1988 at UCLA, the doctors who saved Marcel's life with the open brain surgery (craniotomy) in the first 14 hours surgery included: Dr. Donald Becker, Dr. Larry Hoover and assisted by resident at the time, Dr. Patrick Johnson, who some years later, continued Marcel's spinal care at Cedars-Sinai. This first surgery was the first time at UCLA that both the chiefs of Neurosurgery and also ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat) together co-led a surgery!

Marcel was able to continue his life and serve the medical world as a brilliant teacher, and most caring physician and friend.  - Joy Krauthammer

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