Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time


Donald Liu (1962-2012)

A terrible and heroic thing happened in Michigan last weekend.

A surgeon named Don Liu drowned in a Lake Michigan riptide after helping rescue two youngsters who’d gotten themselves too far out in a kayak.

Don was the surgeon-in-chief at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital.

He was skilled in minimally-invasive pediatric surgery, and by all accounts, gifted at comforting kids both in the hospital and around the neighborhood.

Don was a quintessential academic doc–he excelled in surgery, teaching, and patient care; on top of that he was both an active researcher, program-builder, and administrator.

Don was an incredibly accomplished guy, but he was not in the business of self-promotion.

Many of the obituaries noted that this man who devoted his life to helping children died rescuing some.

I knew Don from around the neighborhood. He was a stand-up guy. He leaves behind a wife and three kids.


  1. Susan Blumberg-Kason

    A lovely tribute! I can’t remember ever seeing Don when he wasn’t smiling and upbeat. Such a loss.

  2. pathdoc

    Inspiring. He gave until death. May I be as selfless.

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