The Brigham community is mourning the loss of Dr. Michael J. Davidson and remembering him as an exceptionally talented surgeon, brilliant thinker, consummate caregiver, and perhaps most of all, as a man who deeply cared for his family, his patients and his colleagues.
“Mike was almost always the smartest man in the room,” said Andrew Eisenhauer, MD, interventional cardiologist and a mentor and close friend of Dr. Davidson. “He was also one of the kindest and best physicians and men to ever walk on this earth.”
Dr. Davidson, a cardiac surgeon and director of BWH Endovascular Surgery, passed away on Jan. 20 following a shooting in the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center. The loss of this visionary, talented and caring physician is felt deeply in Cardiac Surgery and Cardiology, throughout the entire Brigham community and broader health care community, and by countless patients and families who received remarkable care and experienced his unwavering compassion.
“He would demonstrate to his patients how much he cared about them; there was never a perfunctory visit,” said Eisenhauer. “He didn’t leave the room until he was satisfied that the patient was well-served.”
Dr. Davidson was unique in his field; he sought training in interventional cardiology after completing his training in cardiac surgery.
“These are two very different skill sets. It embodies who he was—a visionary who saw what was coming down the pike,” said his colleague and close friend Pinak Shah, MD. “He had to make a lot of personal sacrifices and cross a lot of barriers, all to build a program that he knew was the way we’d be taking care of patients in the future. He had incredible brilliance. It’s rare that you find someone who has all that and can still be a human being. I can’t imagine a combination of talent and humanism that any institution will have the opportunity to work with in the future.”
Dr. Davidson was part of the remarkable team that performed the hospital’s first tricuspid “valve-in-valve” procedure and was involved in establishing BWH’s Cardiac Hybrid OR, one of the most advanced operating rooms in the country. The OR houses superior equipment to allow for combinations of surgical and interventional procedures for patients who need both as part of their care—just as Dr. Davidson envisioned. The OR will be named The Dr. Michael J. Davidson Cardiac Hybrid Operating Room in his honor, as he was instrumental in the planning of these rooms.
Dr. Davidson graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and then trained at Duke University and BWH. He joined the BWH staff as an associate surgeon in 2006. He was a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and a 2008 fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Associate Director of Primary Care Charles Morris, MD, MPH, a friend since college, talked about how generous Dr. Davidson was with his time, both personally and professionally. Thoracic surgeon Daniel Wiener, MD, detailed the hobbies they shared, including playing guitar together in the band “Off Label” in their spare time.
“Mike was an incredible friend, father and husband, and an amazing lead guitarist,” said Wiener. “I will miss him.”
Dr. Davidson is survived by his wife, Dr. Terri Halperin, who is pregnant with their fourth child; children Kate, Liv and Graham; parents, Susan B. and Robert M. Davidson; sister, Hillary Davidson, and brother-in-law, Jordan Goldstein; mother- and father-in-law, Gunilla and Sheldon Halperin; and other family members and friends.
In 2010, Dr. Davidson ran the Boston Marathon with Team Brigham to celebrate his 40th birthday, commenting at the time that there was “no better way to commemorate a birthday, run the Marathon to achieve a personal goal and, in the process, support Team Brigham and its mission to help so many people.”
“The world is a better place because of Dr. Davidson,” said BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD. “Let us honor our dear colleague’s memory and legacy by treating each other with kindness and providing the best possible care to those who come to us in need.”
More information about a BWH memorial service for Dr. Davidson will be forthcoming. View a video tribute to Dr. Davidson online at BWHPikeNotes.org.