Mitchell P. Fink, MD, one of the most inspiring and influential leaders in the field of intensive care medicine, died at 66 years of age on November 17th after being diagnosed this summer with an aggressive sarcoma. This devastating news has left many of us with a huge sense of loss and sadness. Mitch came to the University of Pittsburgh in 1999 where he subsequently became the inaugural chair of the Department of Critical Care Medicine.
During his career, Mitch cared for thousands of patients with skill and compassion, amassed a great body of experimental and clinical research, trained and mentored hundreds of physicians and scientists, demonstrated wonderful entrepreneurship, and carved a vision of modern multidisciplinary critical care with lasting benefits for our entire field. For decades, academic medicine has praised the rare individual who excels as the so-called triple threat: teacher, clinician, and scientist. Mitch was all three and more, adding to these triple roles the rare gift of visionary leader in both academia and industry.
In our daily contact with Mitch, we saw not only his intellect and drive, but also his warmth, compassion, wit, and grace. His door was always open, ready to listen to everyone from senior colleagues to junior residents and new staff. He had words of kindness and advice to coach us through every disappointment and words of praise and respect for every accomplishment.
— Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH, FRCP