About ASN

Lawrence Kahana, MD

December 8, 1927 - May 8, 2017

What do you say when such a man dies? That he lived well, that he left the world a much better place than he found it- that so many people will miss him: his smile, his wit, his compassion, his bedside manner, his intellect, his "can do" attitude? There are no words that seem to describe our loss...the world's loss. There are no words that are adequate.

Our dad, born December 8, 1927 died after a short illness on May 8, 2017. It was his 90th year of a life well lived. He was married to Shirley Elizabeth Segall, our mom, until her death in 1996; and he was a devoted companion to his best friend, a 12 pound poodle, his bundle of loyalty and joy named Popcorn, who passed in 2012. He is preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Rose; brother, Meyer. Dr. Kahana is survived by his two children, Alan and Lynn; and his second wife of 14 years, Helen MacFarlane, whose daughter, Emily became his daughter too. He is also survived by Emily's husband, Brad and their children Julia, 5, and Hunter, 2.

Lawrence Kahana, MD, who much preferred to be called Larry, dedicated himself heart and soul to his craft. He was trained as an internist and endocrinologist, as was Shirley, in the 1940s and 50s. He moved his family back to Tampa in 1958 and practiced medicine at Tampa General Hospital for over 60 years. Countless patients owe their lives to our dad. In the 1960s, he taught himself to use the first dialysis machine in Tampa and his career as a nephrologist was born.

In 1982, he and his partners, Dana Shires and Alex de Quesada, started Lifelink which is dedicated to the recovery of life-saving and life-enhancing organs and tissue for transplantation therapy. With the help of South African surgeon, John Ackerman, transplant nephrology was born in Tampa.

Again, so many patients owe their second chances to our dad. We have many, many stories to share about our dad and the beginnings of renal failure management in Tampa... but one stands out for us... there was a woman with eight children who had end stage renal disease who could not afford health care. We were 9 and 7. Our dad snuck into the hospital and started her on hemodialysis. In those days, you could not withdraw therapy once it was started, but you could refuse to start. Dad was a fearless defender of the sick and the voiceless. That woman and her children lived on, well cared for. And dad kept his job and did so much more.

The world lost a healer, a doctor, a humanitarian, a larger than life spirit this week. Popcorn got her best friend back and we are sure that she was waiting at the rainbow bridge.

Larry was an avid SCUBA diver starting in the early 1960's and spent weeks with his best friend Ted Blau under the many oceans of the world. We will have an appropriate and spirited party planned to honor his extraordinary life in a place that represents his love for Florida and its abundant sea life.

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