William O. Robertson M.D. passed away on November 30th, 2011. He was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1925 to Barbara and William O. Robertson, Sr. Robbie, as he was known throughout his life, graduated from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor’s degree in 1946 and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree in 1949. Dr. Robertson served his internship at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. There he met Barbara Simpson M.D., with whom he was partnered during their medical residency program. Their working partnership was so successful that they went on to marry in 1952. Robbie next served as Chief Resident at Strong Memorial and Grace New Haven Hospital in New Haven CT. He served in the U.S. Navy, first in the V-12 program that supported his medical training, and later during the Korean War as a ship’s physician. Throughout his entire professional career, Dr. Robertson worked in the academic arena. He began at Yale University and then moved to Ohio State University. At OSU, he was on staff and served as Assistant Dean of the Medical School. In conjunction with OSU, he also served as Medical Director at Ross Laboratories, where he directed research programs. While in Ohio, he began his lifelong interest in clinical toxicology, serving as the Director of the Columbus Poison Control Center. In 1963 he moved to Seattle to serve on the staff of the University of Washington Medical School as Associate Dean and Medical Director of University Hospital. In his many years with UW, he held positions of Professor, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Robertson was an Attending Physician at UW Hospital, Harborview Hospital, and Children’s Orthopedic Hospital, and served as Medical Director at UW and Children’s during his tenure. Dr. Robertson was the Medical Director of the Seattle (later Washington) Poison Center, and was a leader in poison prevention. He was well known for his introduction of the ‘Mr. Yuk’ symbol to the Northwest, and was known as ‘Dr Yuk’ to colleagues and friends. Dr. Robertson has been recognized locally and nationally for his service to medicine and academia, and has received numerous awards including the Teacher Superior in Perpetuity-Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award from the UW School of Medicine, the 1995 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Abraham Jacob’s Memorial Award, the 1995 AMA Benjamin Rush Award, and the 1998 AAP Lifetime Achievement Award in Medical Education. Robbie was a vital part of medical governance as a long time member and leader of countless professional and medical organizations. He served as President of the King County Medical Society, Washington State Medical Association, and American Association of Poison Control Centers, and as a Washington State delegate to the AMA. He was an enthusiastic and prolific writer. His work included two books, ‘The Handbook of Poisoning’ and ‘Medical Malpractice: A Preventative Approach.’ Dr. Robertson held editorial responsibilities for over 20 different medical publications. His writings regarding medical error prevention were read by doctors throughout the state in his monthly columns, including ‘Robbie’s Roost.’ He was an avid tennis player and jogger, and was passionate about fine dining, as long as chocolate and salt were major components. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his brother Larry, niece Leigh Anne, and great nephew, Joseph. He is survived by his five children Kathy, Lynn, Kerry (Kuenzi), Doug (wife Robin), and Andy. He also leaves behind his four grandchildren Daniel, Rachel, Elena, and Foster; nieces and nephews Cadie (husband John), Scott (wife Jill), Donna (husband Ray), Mark, Brett, Robin, and Cyndi; and great nieces and nephews Lee, J.B.,Christopher, Dana, Douglas, Daniel, and Kyle. Special thanks go to the wonderfully caring people at University House Wallingford, Providence Hospice, A Helping Hand Homecare, and Ida Culver Broadview. We are so grateful for all their kindness to and support of our family. The family suggests that memorial donations should be directed to the Washington Poison Control Center, 155 NE 100th St, Seattle, WA 98125; Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, PO Box 5371 Seattle, WA 98145; or the “William O. Robertson Endowed Student Fund in Pediatric Medicine” thru the UW Foundation, 815 Mercer St, C-5, Box 358045, Seattle, WA 98195-8045. A public memorial will be held on January 7, 2012 at 1:00pm at the Hogness Auditorium in the UW Medical Center.
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