Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Emeritus consultant Robert Kisabeth, M.D., passed away on Feb. 19, 2023.
As medical director for Mayo Medical Laboratories from 1988 to 2006, Dr. Kisabeth was instrumental in creating and building what Mayo Clinic Laboratories has become today.
Upon hearing of Dr. Kisabeth’s death, Mayo Collaborative Services Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Curt Hanson, M.D., shared the following memory of his long-time colleague and friend:
“Bob was a very special man. His footprints are everywhere on what we have today, including the focus on patient care, our client interactions, the lab test catalog, high-level customer service, recruiting an incredible team of people and then helping them grow and mature into their jobs … the list goes on and on. He truly believed in Mayo Clinic and the quality of patient care here and was fervent in his zeal that Mayo Medical Laboratories could be used to bring that Mayo quality of care to hospitals and physicians everywhere.
“For those of us that knew Dr. Kisabeth, it was always amazing to see the breadth and depth of his understanding of laboratory medicine and pathology. His clinical knowledge was always at the forefront of everything he did. Bob really understood how lab medicine and pathology were essential and indeed the core foundation for taking care of patients.
“Bob was without a doubt a ‘people person.’ He loved talking to anybody, and not only about medicine and Mayo Medical Laboratories, as he was always interested in you as a person. He would inevitably stop by an office and just want to chat to see how you were doing. A smile, a laugh, and a story were sure to follow. To me he was a colleague and a mentor – but best of all, he was a friend.”
Mayo Medical Laboratories Emeritus CEO Keith Laughman had this to say about Dr. Kisabeth:
“I was fortunate to partner with Bob during the last 15 years of my Mayo career. Based on my observations (i.e., at work and many late nights in airports), Bob never let his struggles with juvenile diabetes interfere with his zest for life. He brought that same energy to his profession and shared it with his colleagues. He enjoyed talking with colleagues at customer sites as part of our consultative services support and was a great ambassador for our laboratory services. He would often stay up almost all night researching a patient issue to return a customer call in the morning with a result or explanation that allowed others to diagnose their local patient.
“He loved his wife, Brenda, and their two daughters, Kimberly and Katherine, and was proud to be a member of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and Mayo staff. He taught us many things about the practice of laboratory medicine and pathology and the profession’s positive impact on patients. Accordingly, it was best not to think you would win a debate with Bob about the value of cheap tests. These perspectives have always been critical, but they are even more relevant today as we move into value-based care. He will be missed, but his positive impact remains.”