A Beautiful Tapestry

Loren C. Winterscheid, M.D., Ph.D., Res. ’62 (surgery), FACS


“The aspiration to be a physician had been my desire as long as I can remember.” So wrote the late professor emeritus and alumnus Loren C. Winterscheid, M.D., Ph.D., Res. ’62 (surgery), FACS. Dr. Winterscheid died on Dec. 22, 2017.

Motivated to improve patients’ lives, Dr. Winterscheid may be best known for work done with fellow surgeon Dr. K. Alvin Merendino on heart-lung machines used during heart surgery. His research, which focused on improvements to patient care and doctors’ livelihoods, spanned decades. Dr. Winterscheid was also the consummate administrator, serving as the medical director of UW Medical Center from 1972 to 1989.

“He was a great surgeon and teacher, a benefactor of the Department of Surgery and — for me — a good personal friend whose smile, demeanor, care and candor was and is an inspiration,” says Carlos A. Pellegrini, M.D., FACS, UW Medicine’s chief medical officer.

The late Dr. William P. Gerberding, president of the University of Washington, also had great praise for Dr. Winterscheid. “He’s a university spokesman, the kind of person who, behind the scenes, makes this large institution work,” said Gerberding.

“Dad was very proud of his university,” says his daughter, Gail Winterscheid. And while her father was also proud of his accomplishments, he didn’t identify any single point as the pinnacle of his career. Rather, he treasured the relationships he formed.

“The threads of the lives of teachers, mentors, colleagues, residents, students and patients, interwoven with my life thread, give pattern and beauty to the tapestry of my life,” wrote Dr. Winterscheid. “It is beyond imagining.”

Pictured, top: Loren Winterscheid. Bottom: The heart-lung machine in action.
Photos courtesy of the Winterscheid family.