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September 3, 2015

Obituary: Klaus Bron

Klaus M. Bron, a professor of radiology who died July 23, 2015, at 86, not only was a leader in his field but a friendly fixture in the department for decades, whose professionalism and generosity could be counted on.

“He was a pioneer in interventional radiology,” recalls faculty colleague Philip Orons, “but what I remember most about Dr. Bron was that he was a very kind man.”

Orons was a fellow under Bron beginning in 1990. At the end of each month, Bron would take residents and fellows to lunch in what was then the Tower Room in UPMC Presbyterian. At first, Orons had expected their conversations to be about current cases. “When you were with Dr. Bron you would talk about life: philosophy, the arts,” he marvels. “There are an awful lot of great doctors here. But he was a renaissance man. You weren’t rushing back to the angio[graphy] suite.”

Born in Germany on Feb. 7, 1929, Bron’s family fled the Nazis. He earned his AB in 1951 from Columbia University and his MD from New York University School of Medicine in 1955. He interned 1955-56 at Philadelphia General Hospital, where he was a resident in radiology 1956-57 and 1959-61. In between residency stints he was a captain in the U.S. Air Force. He began his teaching career as an instructor at Stanford, 1961-62.

Joining the Pitt School of Medicine in 1964 as an assistant professor of radiology, he rose to associate professor in 1966, when he was tenured, and professor in 1971, gaining a secondary appointment as professor of surgery in 1994. He was named professor emeritus upon his retirement.

At what was then known as Presbyterian-University Hospital, he was director of vascular and interventional radiology 1964-88, vice chairman of the radiology department 1981-86 and its medical director 1985-89.

Widely published in journals and books, he received a variety of grants from the National Institutes of Health, especially its National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies. He served on University search committees and those concerned with promotions.

Colleague Carl Fuhrman recalls Bron training many angiography fellows but realizing that the science of radiology was adopting new methods: “He could read the writing on the wall. The CT came into place in the late 1970s, early 1980s. He could see that the days of the classic angiography were limited. He became involved with interventional angiography,” particularly in aid of UPMC’s liver transplantation program and the introduction of a trauma center at UPMC Presbyterian.

“He had very high standards and he expected that of the technicians and everybody working with him,” Fuhrman says.

“He had a routine, no doubt about it,” Fuhrman adds, remembering Bron with his New York Times and coffee in the Scaife Hall snack bar every morning. Bron also kept a longhand logbook of his cases. “It provided a research book of materials of early cases that was done for 30 years. They had to be done perfectly … and he always put the patient first.”

Bron is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lois Diamond Bron; his children; and brother-in-law.

Contributions may be made to the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, 3600 Forbes Ave. at Meyran Avenue, Suite 8084, Pittsburgh 15213.

—Marty Levine

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 1

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