It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear friend and colleague, Ronald Gottesman, MDCM, on April 8. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Anita Szabadi, children Eric, Daniel and Arielle, and grandsons Jordan, Theodore, Liam and James, and all his family and loved ones during this difficult time.
“There is a gaping hole in our community and in our hearts,” Beth Foster, MD, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatrician-in-Chief at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre, wrote in a message to members of the Department of Pediatrics. “Ron was a mentor to all of us and a force within the specialty of pediatric critical care medicine in Canada and internationally. He was a gentle and wise physician who brought a sense of calm to all around him – patients, families, and staff – in the most stressful situations. There are people all across the world who counted Ron as a trusted teacher and mentor.”
Bringing pediatric critical care to Canada
Dr. Gottesman graduated from McGill’s medical school in 1982 after completing his BSc in Microbiology and Immunology here in 1978. After doing his residency in Pediatrics at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, he undertook a Fellowship in the burgeoning field of Pediatric Critical Care at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and University of Southern California.
Following his training, he returned to Montreal where he became a founding leader of the speciality in Canada. He went on to lead the Division of Pediatric Critical Care as Division Chief and Medical Director at McGill University and the Montreal Children’s Hospital for 25 years, stepping down in 2014. In addition to his roles as Professor of Pediatrics and the Wendy MacDonald Endowed Chair in Pediatric Medical Education, he was an Associate Member of both the Institute of Health Sciences Education and the Ingram School of Nursing, in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Dr. Gottesman also had a longstanding interest in the value of simulation in medical education and was a founding Director of the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning at McGill and later its Interim Director.
A beloved teacher and mentor, Dr. Gottesman was a great believer in interprofessional collaboration as the best approach to pediatric critical care, and he always worked hard to convey that principle to his trainees from across the health professions. In 2020, his efforts were recognized when he was nominated by his former trainees and named Mentor of the Year for Region 4 by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Gottesman was a founder of the Royal College’s Critical Care Medicine speciality and Chair of its Specialty Committee in Critical Care Medicine (Adult and Pediatric).
Saleem Razack, MD, current Director of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care at McGill and the Montreal Children’s Hospital, said at the time: “Ron lives by the spirit that Critical Care Medicine is a team sport – we need to work with our physician, nursing, RT and other health care colleagues in order to optimize patient outcomes.”
A committed family man, Dr. Gottesman imbued in his trainees the importance of taking care of themselves and their own families, as well as caring for their young patients. “I’ve always been a great proponent of balance and family,” he told the Royal College upon receiving his award. “The balance is in being engaged and present for families and patients and then have some coping mechanism for private life.”
Please read his full obituary.
Dr. Ronald Gottesman Fund for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Contributions in Dr. Gotteman’s memory may be made to the Dr. Ronald Gottesman Fund for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit through the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, (514) 934-4846, or visit https://fondationduchildren.com/en/fundraising/honouring-dr-ronald-gottesman.
Funds raised will benefit critically ill children treated in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and their families, honouring Dr. Gottesman’s legacy.