With great sadness we try to understand and come to terms with the sudden and unexpected death of our colleague and friend Torsten L. B. Lauritsen. Torsten was for many years a great paediatric anaesthetic capacity in Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe, professionally as well as a member and chairman of various committees and societies.
Throughout most of his career, Torsten worked at the Juliane Marie Center at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark where he quickly developed a strong interest in neonatal intensive care and paediatric anaesthesia, and where has acted as the Head of the Department of Paediatric and Obstetric Anaesthesia for many years.
Torsten’s great professional commitment has been central to the development of paediatric anaesthesia in Denmark in particular, and he was, among other things, a Danish link to the international professional community. Torsten was a skillful beacon, who helped to set the agenda for paediatric anaesthesia not only in Denmark but also throughout Scandinavia and Europe. He had a clear perception of quality and development and was an endless driving force in our specialty. His primary focus was always placed on the interests of the children and their parents, and he did not stand aside to argue for propriety in our professional work.
He will invariably be remembered for his huge role in developing paediatric anaesthesia through tireless efforts in education and his various organizational roles and leadership nationally and internationally. He initiated and for decades coordinated and ran the European Resuscitation Council’s European Paediatric Advanced Life Support courses in Denmark, and he acted as the President of the Scandinavian Society of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care’s Fellowship Program in Paediatric Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine. He worked very vigorously for this program to grow into a standard for how fellowships and postgraduate training and education in paediatric anaesthesia should be constructed and enforced internationally.
Torsten’s untimely death has come as a colossal shock to all of us who knew him. He was a genuinely nice, loyal, entertaining, and generous man and will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues in Europe and elsewhere.
Our thoughts go to Torsten’s family, notably Torsten’s two sons, Gustav and Julius.
May Torsten rest in peace.
On behalf of the European Society for Paediatric Anaesthesiology (ESPA), Subcommittee-5 for the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (ESAIC), and the Safe Anaesthesia for Every Tot (Safetots) initiative:
Neil S. Morton
Jurgen De Graaff
Tom G. Hansen