Dr. David Bjoraker, 77, Gainesville, Fla.
Dr. David Gary Bjoraker, age 77, of Gainesville, Fla., passed away on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023, at E.T. York Hospice Care Center, Gainesville, after a lengthy illness.
David was born April 22, 1946, to Edwin and Florence Bjorakerin in Owatonna. He graduated as valedictorian from Owatonna High School in 1964. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry with honors (Tau Beta Pi inductee) from the University of Minnesota in 1968, David matriculated at the University of Minnesota Medical School where he received his Doctor of Medicine in 1972. He then completed an internship in surgery (1973) and a residency in anesthesiology (1975) at the University of Colorado.
David then decided to seek advanced training by completing anesthesiology fellowships at the Universities of Colorado and Michigan (1976). He next joined the academic faculty at the University of Michigan, serving as an instructor (1976-1978) and later as an assistant professor (1978-1983) in the Department of Anesthesiology.
Honors included being named Instructor of the Year (1980) and being selected to be part of the first American delegation of medical professionals to visit China (1980).
In 1983, David decided to enter private practice at the Sun City Regional Medical Center in Sun City, Fla., where he served as a member of the Hospital Executive Committee, secretary-treasurer, and chief of staff.
The University of Florida Department of Anesthesiology faculty, residents, and patients were fortunate when in 1986 David decided to re-enter academic medicine and became an assistant professor of anesthesiology and chief of ear, nose, and throatanesthesia at the University of Florida (UF). He was promoted to associate professor in 1990. He spent 25 significant years at UF until his retirement in 2011.
Throughout his UF career he was recognized for his demanding attention to detail in the operating rooms, innovativeness, inventiveness, outstanding teaching skills, and clinical excellence, particularly in the areas of otolaryngology (e.g., management of difficult airways), hemostasis (blood coagulation and scavenging), and anesthesia equipment. He brought video laryngoscopy to UF. He was the go-to colleague for any difficult airway question or help.
In addition to teaching residents and medical students and caring for patients, David was a tireless advocate of developing and incorporating new technologies into clinical practice to improve patient outcomes. Notable career achievements includedincorporating the latest medical devices for handling difficult airways into routine clinical practice and pioneering assessing blood clotting function during major surgical procedures with thromboelastography. Numerous publications attest to his broad academic contributions. As a three-time patented inventor,David and his colleagues were the first to recognize and patent the fact that propofol, a widely used intravenous anesthetic, can be detected in human breath (gas phase) and correctly predicted that propofol’s breath concentration can be used to accurately measure its blood concentration and guide propofol anesthesia.
David had widespread interests that provided a full and meaningful life. He will be remembered for his many contributions that advanced the scientific foundation of anesthesiology and for serving as an outstanding role model of clinical excellence to hundreds of the next generation of anesthesiologists. As a scientist, he set up a bona fide analytical chemistry lab at his home to support his research interests.
In his free time, David also enjoyed numerous projects at his Florida property and could fix most anything. He learned to fly his own helicopter and pilot his power catamaran. Given his paternal grandfather, Lewis, emigrated from Norway, David also was interested in the family genealogy and was fortunate to visit Norway with family members in 2015. He is fondly remembered as a colleague and friend and by his family as a beloved son, brother, and uncle.
David is survived by two sisters, Carol Ferris, Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Dr. Julie Bjoraker (Jeffrey Ward), Dover, Minnesota; three nieces, Mary Ferris, Cedar Falls, Iowa, Catherine McGinnis (Chad), Iowa City, Iowa, and Caryn Lantz (Charles), Burnsville; one nephew, Matthew Ferris, Chicago; and a loved, large extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother-in-law, William Ferris.
As per David’s wishes, there will be a private family interment at Forest Hill Cemetery in Owatonna at a future date. Memorials may be directed to the American Diabetes Association or the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.
Arrangements are in the care of Milam Funeral and Cremation Services, 311 S. Main St., Gainesville, FL 32606. Milam can be reached at 352-472-5361.