By: Ana Mantica
In a tragedy drawing national attention from medical ethicists, an Albany Times Union reporter, Mike Hurewitz, 57, died at Mount Sinai Hospital here, four days after having elective surgery in which he donated part of his liver to save his brother’s life.
Hurewitz was the first liver donor to die at Mount Sinai. The only other reported death in the United States in such a case occurred at the University of North Carolina in 1999. Mount Sinai, which uses more living donors for liver transplants than any other hospital in the United States, temporarily suspended live-donor liver transplant operations for adult recipients Tuesday, while it investigates the cause of the death.
The use of live donors troubles some ethicists as it appears to violate the physicians’ code of “first, do no harm.”
Mt. Sinai did not disclose the death, which occurred on Sunday. The Times Union and The Associated Press reported it after learning about it from the Hurewitz family.
A few weeks before the surgery, Hurewitz told Times Union Editor Jeff Cohen that his brother was the greatest guy on earth and that he wouldn’t do it for anyone else. Adam Hurewitz is now recovering.
Friends and colleagues remembered Hurewitz at a funeral service held Wednesday on Long Island. Another service is being planned for Jan. 27 either in Albany or Saratoga.
“He had a great way of looking at the world with a bit of a wink and smile,” said Times Union Managing Editor Rex Smith told E&P. “And that was reflected in his writing.”
A journalist for nearly 30 years, Hurewitz joined the Times Union in 1994 and was most recently assigned to the Saratoga suburban bureau. Before that he worked as a reporter for the old Long Island Press and the New York Post where he covered the courts and organized crime among other beats.
According to Smith, Hurewitz was generous with young colleagues. “One of the things we liked to do was to have Mike sit next to a young, new reporter,” Smith said, “not just because he was a veteran reporter, but because he was willing to share that.”
Hurewitz’ wife, Vickie, has set up a scholarship fund in her husband’s memory. Donations can be sent to: Mike Hurewitz Scholarship Fund for Journalism Students, in c/o Tom Maginn, Resident Controller, Times Union, Box 15000, Albany, NY 12212. The Times Union will make a $10,000 donation.