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René Tempelhoff, MD, announces retirement after 35 years of service

Renee Tempelhoff, MD

An announcement from Drs. Avidan, Evers, and Owens:

It is with a mixture of emotions that we announce the retirement of our dear friend and colleague, René Tempelhoff, MD. Professor Tempelhoff has been a substantial and consistent contributor to Washington University for over 35 years. He is much beloved, admired, and revered by so many clinicians, scientists, students, and patients. His impact on the anesthesiology department and on his colleagues has truly been profound.

Dr. Tempelhoff is the consummate anesthesiologist. He trained as a neuro-anesthesiologist and neuro-intensivist in France and joined the Washington University faculty in 1985, after completion of his US residency program at the University of Miami. Since then, he has been the stalwart of the neuro-anesthesiology service at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. His exceptional knowledge, skill, and acumen are well recognized by clinicians in the anesthesiology department, perioperative nurses, and surgical colleagues. He has played a major role over many years in elevating the quality and safety of neuro, ophthalmologic, and otolaryngologic anesthesiology at Washington University, and has made substantial contributions to improved outcomes for patients undergoing complex neurosurgical procedures as well as head, neck, and eye surgeries.

Dr. Tempelhoff has trained generations of anesthesiology residents and fellows in neuro-anesthesiology, and has enabled the development of a number of unique services including performance of awake craniotomies, complex seizure mapping, and the use of intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging. He is an expert in difficult airway management, electrophysiological brain monitoring, and in the management of brain swelling and increased intracranial pressure.

Over the years, he assumed multiple leadership positions both in the Department of Anesthesiology and in Barnes Jewish Hospital. He personally ran the neurosurgical and otolaryngological anesthesiology services for many years and was the Chief of the Barnes-Jewish General Anesthesiology Division from 1998 to 2015. Within the Department of Anesthesiology, he served on the Clinical Competence Committee, Appointments and Promotions Committee, and Recruitment Committee. For years he has helped to enrich our institution by attracting talented anesthesiologists and intensivists from around the world to Washington University. For Barnes-Jewish Hospital, he served on the Medical Staff Credentialing Committee and was chair of that committee since 2009.

Dr. Tempelhoff is an accomplished clinical investigator and has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and numerous book chapters. He has been a frequent lecturer at national and international meetings and is perennially ranked as a “Best Doctor” in St. Louis and America. His teaching is widely recognized as outstanding, and he was selected by the Anesthesiology residents as the Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2009. His influence goes far beyond Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital through the impact he has had on generations of young anesthesiologists during their residency and fellowship, many of which are now leaders around the world who impact medical care across the globe.

He has always been an exceptional and unflappable anesthesiologist. With his unique wit and charm, he has always been able to energize his colleagues and defuse difficult situations. Dr. Tempelhoff has been an icon of clinical excellence in Anesthesiology at Washington University for many years and we will all miss him tremendously as he retires as a member of our department.

We are deeply grateful to René’s wife, Betty, who persuaded him to come here to St. Louis. She was the inspiration for him to join us in our endeavors and encouraged him to persevere at Washington University even when times in the department were rough with major deficits in staffing. We wish him much happiness as he continues to enjoy life adventures with Betty, his daughter Sandra, and his two grandchildren, Max and Mila-Rose.

Warm regards,
Michael, Alex, and Bill

Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, FCASA
Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology
Head of the Department of Anesthesiology
Anesthesiologist-in-Chief, Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Alex S. Evers, MD
Henry E. Mallinckrodt Professor of Anesthesiology
Professor of Internal Medicine and Developmental Biology

William D. Owens, MD
Professor Emeritus of Anesthesiology