Sorrowfully, we inform you that Miroslav Klain, MD, Professor Emeritus and a respected and accomplished faculty member of our department for over 40 years, passed away on May 18, 2019.
Miroslav Klain was born on 25 August 1927 in Czechoslovakia. Dr. Klain trained as a physician at Charles University (MUDr., 1951) and earned a PhD as well. He began his medical career as a cardiac surgeon. Miro met his wife Eva at a hospital in Czechoslovakia where he was working as a doctor and Eva as an X-ray technician. Miro first came to the U.S. in 1965 when he completed a one-year research fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. At the end of that year, he returned to Prague, but when the Soviets invaded, they moved to Austria and soon found refuge in the US, moving to Texas with their two children and all the possessions they could carry. They returned to Cleveland, where Miro was hired to direct artificial heart development at the Cleveland Clinic. He eventually shifted his research and clinical focus to anesthesiology. A lecture Dr. Klain gave in 1972 resulted in a job offer at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine/UPMC Presbyterian, thus beginning his long relationship with our department.
Dr. Klain contributed to numerous projects over the years he spent working with our department, particularly in his many collaborations with our founding Chair, the renowned Dr. Peter Safar. Most notable among these was his early work with high frequency ventilation and his contributions as a co-inventor on seven US patents awarded between 1990 and 2002 related to portable cardiopulmonary bypass apparatuses and aortic balloon catheters. Miro was a member of an interdisciplinary team of researchers known as the University of Pittsburgh Disaster Reanimatology Study Group (DRSG). This research team, in partnership with a team of Russian and Armenian physicians, conducted the first international interdisciplinary disaster evaluation research field survey study of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. The Armenia study led to a series of post-disaster field studies by the DRSG in Costa Rica (1991), Turkey (1993), and Japan (1994). These studies helped to establish the "Golden 24 Hours" of emergency response in disasters and inspired Norwegian anesthesiologist and humanitarian Dr. Knut Ole Sundnes to establish the Task Force of Quality Control of Disaster Management under the auspices of the Nordic Society of Disaster Medicine and World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine.
In 2006, Dr. Klain retired from the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC but remained engaged with our department, serving on our Resident Education Committee for several years. Upon retiring, he was awarded Professor Emeritus status. This very prestigious title is not automatically granted to all retirees. This specific designation is bestowed by the Provost and Chancellor for a faculty member’s meritorious contributions to the educational mission and programs of the University.
Miro was a polyglot, speaking English, German, Czech, Russian, Latin, and several other languages. In addition to his wife Eva, he is survived by three children and six grandchildren who live in Prague, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. Those of us who had the privilege of working with Dr. Klain and knowing him personally will fondly remember him not only as an accomplished scholar and physician, but also a true gentleman, kind person, and amusing storyteller.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1pm on Sunday, July 28, 2019 at Providence Point Chapel, 500 Providence Point Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15243.