Surgery

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In Memory of Robert K. Ausman, MD, PhD

Robert Ausman, MD PhDIt is with extreme sadness that we report the death of Robert K. Ausman, M.D., who was a close friend and long-time faculty member of the Department of Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Bob and his family (Ausman Family Foundation) were extremely generous with both time and resources in their devotion to the Department of Surgery. We are all deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely passing of Bob Ausman.

Bob graduated from Marquette University School of Medicine in 1957 and continued his training as a surgical resident under Dr. Owen Wangensteen. He began his research career as a Damon Runyon Scholar and then received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1961. His first faculty position was as Director of Health Research at Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, where he stayed until being recruited to Baxter Laboratories as Director of Clinical Research in 1970. This began a two decade long career at Baxter Healthcare Corporation in Illinois, which allowed him to collaborate with the Department of Surgery as a Clinical Professor from 1970 to the present. Bob had a unique skill set, an incredibly inquisitive mind, and was a prodigious reader of all things medical. He pioneered isolated organ perfusion for cancer and presented his work on isolated perfusion of the liver at the Surgical Forum in 1959. He then published a series of manuscripts (many with Ed Quebbeman) on both the science of organ perfusion as well as pharmacology and clinical effectiveness of prolonged infusion of 5-fluorouracil. In addition, Dr. Ausman was instrumental in the development of total parenteral nutrition and its proper application, long before we had worked out the best technology for central venous access. He then helped develop the safe and efficient intravenous pump systems now used.

Dr. Ausman’s dedication to the Department of Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin is impossible to accurately describe in words. His thoughtful comments at our conferences as well as his insight into everything from department strategy to the politics of greater Milwaukee will be impossible to replace. His most recent passion in the arena of surgical education involves simulation training. Through the Ausman Family Foundation he made a very generous gift to launch efforts at creating a world class simulation center. This will come to fruition quite soon but sadly not soon enough for Bob to participate to the degree that we all would have liked. The effect of Bob Ausman on the Department of Surgery and its faculty will be long-lasting and his seat at our weekly Grand Rounds and M&M Conference will not be empty; we know that his spirit will remain in Helfaer Auditorium to ensure our faculty’s commitment to education, science, and clinical excellence.

Douglas B. Evans, M.D.
Stuart D. Wilson, M.D.
Edward J. Quebbeman, M.D.

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Page Updated 09/04/2014