Renowned gastroenterologist Dr. Kurt Isselbacher dies

Renowned gastroenterologist and former Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center director Kurt Isselbacher, MD, died of a stroke July 18 at age 93, the Boston Globe reports.

Dr. Isselbacher, who was still working up until his death, viewed his career in medicine as repayment for escaping Germany in July 1936. He wrote in his memoir, "I believe medicine became my calling in order to justify my survival, to be of service to others, to provide support and comfort to those in need, and to do it with compassion."

At 31, Dr. Isselbacher became Boston-based Mass General's chief of gastroenterology and began a fruitful career in research and leadership advancement. He served as both co-editor and editor-in-chief of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine and published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers in his lifetime.

Dr. Isselbacher made several noted research breakthroughs, including identifying the enzymatic defect responsible for galactosemia and advancing scientific knowledge of the liver and intestine.

He is a past president of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease and the Association of American Physicians.

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