Right to left: Teofilo Ruiz, Vladimir Quintero, Jim Keller, Mario Castaneda, Tom Judd, Antonio Hernandez
Mario was a longtime friend and fellow in the clinical engineering field. We shared many stories about clinical engineering practice in various parts of the world where we both had visited programs. My best personal memory was as he was becoming the ACCE president and wanted to expand the membership. We discussed this over dinner at some international meeting. He convinced me to become his ACCE Membership Chair. Mario found people to become members and Suly and I took the challenge and got them through the membership process, expanding the ACCE membership as well as establishing the ACCE Institutional membership.
A sad surprise to learn that Mario Castaneda had died on October 1st. Mario was so well respected for working diligently over many years to reach clinical technology leadership at Kaiser Permanente and contributing so much to clinical engineering as President and Past President.
In our interactions over the past 15 years, Mario showed friendship, love of life, and some unique qualities such as his strategic approach to problem solving and planning for the future.
His leadership was evident at the 2010 Advanced Clinical Engineering Workshop in Atlanta, GA and found himself front and center (between Tom Judd and Jennifer Jackson) at the reunion photo below.
Rest in peace Mario – you have made a significant impact on so many.
Hard work was his trademark but he always had time for good food and conversation
Our clinical engineering groups – Technical Services Partnership at the Univ. of Vermont – was very pleased when Mario offered to present at our quarterly webinar in 2011. Below is the final message and graphic from Mario.
“Make a habit to go outside your zone of comfort and familiarity” closing message and graphic from Mario
Special participation of our dear friend, mentor and colleague Mario Castañeda in the Advanced Clinical Engineering Workshop ACEW, in Lima - Peru, sponsored by ACCE and PAHO, at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, PUCP Campus. August 2007.
Thank you, Mario, for your outstanding support to develop clinical engineering in Peru and Latin America, we will miss the valuable human being you was, you will live in our memory inspiring us forever
Participación especial de nuestro querido amigo, mentor y colega Mario Castañeda en el Advanced Clinical Engineering Workshop ACEW, en Lima – Perú, patrocinado por el ACCE y PAHO, en el Campus de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú PUCP. Agosto 2007.
Gracias Mario por tu extraordinario apoyo al desarrollo de la ingeniería clínica en el Perú y Latinoamérica, extrañaremos el valioso ser humano que fuiste, vivirás en nuestra memoria inspirándonos por siempre
ECRI went on to validate ambulances and the equipment carried in the ambulance. Many of today's standards (called KKK) for EMS equipment and vehicles were developed by ECRI and Dr. Noble reaching out to assure appropriate technology and patient care everywhere a patient was treated. Electrical safety testing, defibrillator, laser and ESU output testing, receptacle testing, medical gas testing and many other functions we do today he helped develop and standardize for our profession. Equipment databases as well as standardized descriptions, testing protocols, etc. were all developed by ECRI during hospital biomedical early years. Projects many of us work on today to properly manage technology from pre-purchase through surplus - technology management of medical devices - was developed and proven domestically and internationally under his guidance at ECRI. Work we do today to assure compatibility between medical devices, systems and facilities was something ECRI started educating biomeds about in the 1980's. Laser safety, operating room fires, the list goes on and on of work he directed and mentored at ECRI that is now practiced daily to improve patient safety.
The biomedical profession has lost some of our foundation with Dr. Joel Nobel's passing.
Luis Vilcahuamán, Rossana Rivas
Mario, you were a bridge between Japan and the US in the field of clinical engineering. We will never forget your passion for clinical engineering and your beautiful smile.
Rest in peace.
Your friends from JACE
Mario with JACE president,
2016 JACE Congress, Kyoto
Mario was an unique example of a smart, talented leader who was at the same time kind and persuasive. He contributed very significantly to the advancement of CE in the US and worldwide through his long careerl He will be seriously missed.
Mario is fondly remembered as both pleasant to work with and committed to AAMI and ACCE’s shared mission in promoting the safe and effective application of healthcare technologies for patient safety. Furthering the work of his predecessors, Mario’s tenure as ACCE President helped entrench a tradition of bringing AAMI and ACCE members together to share education and valuable industry knowledge. He will be missed.
Steve Campbell, AAMI
A huge loss to the HTM community and to the ones that Mario was mentor, advisor and guide. So many of us “stumbled” into this amazing career and Mario gave us the encouragement to explore the uncharted waters of HTM… Mario R.I.P
Mario was a fine man and great inspiration to me and I'm sure to many others. He always made the time to share his knowledge. I'll miss him.
Ironic, coincidence? I prefer to think of this evening's musings as a brief whiff of the spirit of God that in some way made me aware of the respect I owe to the invaluable encouragement to excel in finding the truth inculcated in me by my boss, Joel Nobel.
Joel said, "If you don't know the answer to a question, say that you don't know but you'll find out the answer." This and many more guiding principles have enriched my life.
The morning I returned to work after the funeral of my father in 1974, Joel sat beside me at my desk, offered his condolences and shared his thoughts on memories of the death of his father and the importance of persistent memory of those we love. Whenever I see a schefflera plant I think of the kindness of Joel and the ECRI crew who sent one to my mother as a token of their sympathy.
Such a wonderful man and mentor... always generous with his advice and support to upcoming members of the field. Huge loss to biomed community! RIP Mario!
Mario will be greatly missed! Such a great role model and leader in the field of clinical engineering - and above all a great and humble human being! Rest In Peace Mario!
Joel was perceived by a few of us engineers at ECRI as a mentor. Over the years I have come to conclude, however, that mentors have a limited duration in that role. You take and apply the best of what a mentor has to offer. At some point down the road, however, you begin to question some of the perspectives, judgment, and guidance from the mentor. This is appropriate: you are learning. You further learn from observing the mentor's mistakes, as well as from your own mistakes. After about ten years though, if you are lucky enough to have had such an extended association, the mentor has largely run his or her course in that role and morphs into a peer sounding board and reviewer. Such was the case between Joel and me. I value tremendously my having known, worked, debated, played, and traveled with him.
I last spoke with Joel on July 1, 2014, to discuss a speaking invitation from Saudi Arabia. Since that time, just three weeks ago, I per chance encountered a first-hand historical anecdote about Joel's MAX Cart. While performing an accident investigation at a Delaware Valley area hospital I worked with the risk manager. She has been to ECRI many times for risk management society meetings. During my investigation she commented on the MAX Cart displayed in our lobby. She knew that Joel had invented it and asked about him. As a nurse in the late 1960s and early 1970s she stated that she had used it five times and successfully resuscitated all five patients. This is likely one of the few medical professionals who remember having used MAX. She commented that it functioned marvelously for resuscitation and quipped that she felt competent enough with MAX to give instructions on its use, if such training was still needed! I had meant to tell Joel about her experience and comments on the lives saved, but did not get the chance. I wish that I had.
In 2013, Joel received an extraordinary and touching email letter from the aging wife of physician who had been a medical resident at Pennsylvania Hospital with Joel in the mid 1960s. Joel shared the email with just a few of us. The woman had worked at the hospital at that time. She commented in her letter that of all the residents, Joel was "the only one that stuck with me because of your intentions to make it a better world for human beings." She went on saying "I remember your lunch time doodles of MAX and a rescue helicopter. You were so determined to use your life, heart, intellect, and talent to make a difference for humanity." Many other compliments and praises were in her email, including "So proud I am of you."
Joel indeed made a difference for humanity and he had much to be proud of. The world of healthcare is a demonstrably better and safer place because of him.
So, it has come to this. To Dr. Joel J. Nobel—I leave you with the opening of the First Aphorism of Hippocrates: "Life is short, and art long; the crisis fleeting; experience perilous, and decisions difficult." You experienced it all, sir.
Farewell, my friend.
What an amazing mentor and role model as I was entering the HTM many years ago. Rest in peace, friend.
Like Joel, I was privileged to be a recipient of grant funding in the 1970s from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop one of the shared service programs that played a part in the early years of clinical engineering. It was an interesting time to be in the business and it was exciting to be a part of that small group of Kellogg beneficiaries that became known as "the founding fathers". Although I suppose we were all peers, Joel's statesman-like manner always moved him to the head of the line. He was a natural leader as well as an excellent and very articulate spokesperson. For me, his most memorable contribution was the testimony he gave to the Senate Subcommittee on the proposed Medical Device Amendments of 1973 in which he completely blew away the possibility that the "microshock" phenomenon "invented" by Dr. Carl Walter and famously publicized by Ralph Nader in The Ladies Home Journal was a significant threat. He did that by testifying (in part) that:
"Bogus statistics on electrocution in hospitals have been proclaimed and republished without end – or confirmation – for five years. Many millions of words have been written about microshock and many millions of dollars spent to avoid it. It is obvious, however, that we still know nothing of its real incidence…."
This dramatic declaration marked the beginning of the end of that very important first period of overblown concern about electrical safety.
Joel was an ardent student of classical military strategies and one of his favorite stories was about the workaround that was used in his day by the surgical residents in the downtown Emergency Rooms in Philadelphia where a fair number of street gang casualties were received. They were not allowed to carry any kind of side arm, so - he would explain - they used to keep one or two bottles of saline on the shelf above each of the gurneys to provide them with some means of self-protection. Then, with his impish smile, he would add that - to keep the record straight - if they ever had to use one, they would enter into the patient's notes that 500ccs of saline had been administered supra-cranially.
It was my privilege to know Joel Nobel. He was an inspirational mentor and I will miss him. Thank you Joel! You made this world a better place.
Rest in peace Sir! Mario represented the healthcare technology management/clinical engineering community in an outstanding way. He was a great leader, mentor, and great friend to many clinical and biomedical engineers. His leadership facilitated a great collaboration between ACCE and AAMI, and other associations on the international front! His legacy lives on and he will be dearly missed.
Mario taught the Biomedical Technology classes at Napa College for years. I was lucky to be one of his students, and he taught me to be a very good Tech. I think my skills are still better than many others, and it was because of him. He was a great teacher and mentor to me, and I am glad I got to tell him how much he meant to me.
A sad day for clinical engineering.
I am very sorry for Mario's death, a lot of learning, love and teachings on a professional and life level Mario gave us in the moments we shared; in addition to a great welcome. I thank God for having known him and I share the sadness of his departure.
Beatriz Galeano Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana - Colombia
Very sad to hear, I had a great time with Mario the last HIMSS in Orlando, he treated me and my family to some wonderful Indian food. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to all.
I am so sorry to hear that. Thank you very much for sharing this very sad news about our friend Mario. Too young. He was a treasure for the clinical engineering community. Mario was such a joy to work with. I always appreciated his passion and will be forever thankful for all of the support and guidance that he provided to me over the years I was at ECRI.
May Mario rest in Peace and my deepest and sincere condolences to Mario’s family and to all our community. As you very well said, may his legacy on health technology passion and knowledge stay with us and bloom in the next generations.
Adriana Velasquez, WHO
So sad and unexpected news about good friend, smart, compassion, and influential clinical engineer. Always enjoyed to converse with and hear Mario's take on issues being here in the US or internationally. I'm lucky to have met and work with him. His wisdom will be greatly missed but his legacy will stay with the rest of us. My thoughts and prayers go to his family. May he rest in peace.
Mario was a talented and hardworking colleague. He left us far too soon. I agree with Binseng that we should honor him with some kind of community recognition.
Mario was a great friend and inspiration. May he rest in heavenly peace. He will be sorely missed.
It is so sad to hear. Mario was a good man for so many reasons. Life is too short.
What an incredible loss and legacy! He made us all laugh and made us all better. His inspiration will be long be remembered.
Mario was a good friend and colleague...and an inspiration to the international CE community. He will be missed by all of us, but we can be comforted knowing that his legacy will live on.
Mario was a good friend and indefatigable supporter of CE around the world. He will be missed.
I'm so sorry to hear this. My sympathies for his family. I'll miss him.
Paul R. Sherman
This is sad – as noted he was “foundational” to our profession and truly a very nice person. He had time for everyone, extended himself to be helpful and I suspect mentored many. Your email list is indicative of the many who considered him a friend and leader. He’ll be missed.
On behalf of his relatives, thank you very much for the word expressed here. Blessings to all and prayers for our friend and brother.
En nombre de sus familiares, muchísimas gracias por las palabras expresadas por este medio. Bendiciones para todos y oraciones para nuestro amigo y hermano.
Teofilo Ruiz Arteta, Colombia
As previously stated, he gave us so much, both professionally and personally. I am certain that he will continue to look over us from time to time from above and I hope that we may continue to carry on his legacy. My deepest condolences to his family.
He was a great leader in our field and a good friend. My prayers go out to his family.