University News

Obituary: Dr. Marcel Krauthammer, UCLA/VA Pulmonologist, Critical Care Specialist and Gifted Teacher


Dr. Marcel Krauthammer (Northridge), a pulmonologistand adjunct professor of medicine for 23 years at UCLA and the Veterans AffairsGreater Los Angeles Healthcare System has died from brain cancer. He was 59.

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

A gifted teacher, Krauthammer received many awards for hiscommitment to excellence in teaching, patient care and academics. He wasawarded the Golden Apple Award three times from the UCLA-San Fernando ValleyMedical Program house staff, an annual honor given to the most outstandingteacher from the training program. He also received several faculty awardsincluding Teacher of the Year in 1996 and the Clinical Faculty Teaching Awardin 1980.

"Marcel's dedication to lifelong learning made him anexcellent teacher and role model for students, faculty and staff. Hisenthusiasm and energy were awe-inspiring," said Dr. Michael S. Golub, senate emeritus professor and former chair, UCLA-SanFernando Valley Medical Program and former chief of medicine at the SepulvedaVA.

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

"Marcel was relentless in his pursuit of knowledge and intracking down solutions to medical problems. He passed this motivation on toeveryone he taught," said Dr. Irwin Ziment, senateemeritus professor and former chief of medicine at Valleycare Olive View-UCLA Medical Center,who knew Krauthammer for 25 years.

Krauthammer's life also reflected a commitment to hispatients. During his years in the medical intensive care unit, he also studiedmedical ethics in order to better guide patients and their families throughcritical end-of-life decisions. He also served several years as an expert onthe VA's Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee.

Active in professional organizations, Krauthammer served aspresident of the Trudeau Society of Greater Los Angeles, which is associatedwith the American Lung Association and composed of academic and private pulmonologists. He received the David SalkinAward presented to a member who best embodies the principles, goals and spiritof this group.

Krauthammer was a member of the American Collegeof Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society and the Society of Critical CareMedicine. He also chaired pulmonary care symposiums and research conferences inSouthern California.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he completed his undergraduate work in Canada and received his medical degree from theAlbert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in 1971.He started his medical career at UCLA and the VA as a staff physician in1977 and retired in 2000. He died Jan 17.

Diagnosed in 1988 with a rare esthesioneuroblastoma,Krauthammer continued to teach and work despite numerous treatments andtwo-dozen surgeries. Throughout his struggle, he maintained his interest andenthusiasm for medicine, sports and religion. His dedication and courage willbe remembered by his family, friends, colleagues and patients.

"One of the most determined people I've ever known, Marcelplayed to win. The only battle he lost was with cancer. He will be sorelymissed," Ziment said.

Krauthammer is survived by his devoted wife, JoyKrauthammer; his daughter and son‑in-law, Aviva and Brett Freedman; hismother, Thea Krauthammer; and his brother, Dr.Charles Krauthammer.




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