Honoring the memory of Dr. David Paulus

On December 12, 2012, we lost our friend and colleague David A. Paulus, MD. Dr. Paulus worked for 35 years here at UF as an Anesthesiologist.

Here is a video created to commemorate his life here at the University of Florida’s Department of Anesthesiology.  His obituary is below.

Gainesville – Dr. David A. Paulus, the beloved, gap-toothed anesthesiologist, son of Marian and Henry Paulus and baker of maple-syrup apple pies, died at his home in Gainesville on December 12th, 2012. He was 67. Quite appropriately to those who knew him, Dr.Paulus died of a big heart.

While a youth in Burlington, Vermont, Dr. Paulus enjoyed cross-country skiing, canoeing, and constructing rockets, which he shot through the windows of the neighboring elderly. Never convicted, he earned a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering from, respectively, the University of Vermont in 1968 and the University of Wisconsin in 1970. While working as General Electric wunderkind, Dr. Paulus stopped short of completing his PhD in mechanical engineering, switching careers to medicine. He graduated from UVM College of Medicine in 1976, interned at the University of Kentucky in 1977, and completed his residency in anesthesia at the University of Florida in 1979. He met his future wife Louise, a training nurse anesthetist, in the hallways of Shands Hospital while still a resident and wooed her by freezing her dinner in liquid nitrogen and tossing it short to shatter at her feet. They married soon after on June 16, 1979 and settled in Gainesville. Dr. Paulus completed a cardiac anesthesia fellowship in 1980.

Over his thirty-five years as a Shands anesthesiologist, Dr. Paulus built a reputation for steadfast loyalty to colleagues and patients, showing especial grace with terminally sick children, teaching them how to clamp off surgical tubing to make water guns. With Dr. J.S. Gravenstein, his mentor, and Dr. Nik Gravenstein, Dr. Paulus designed and taught a course for engineers and marketing personnel on anesthesia products to improve patient safety. As well as being a professor at UF College of Medicine, he lectured at UF’s Levin College of Law, College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Warrington College of Business and held visiting professorships across the country. His numerous positions included Associate Chair for the Anesthesiology Department’s clinical care, Medical Director of Shands OR and HomeCare, Shands HealthCare Board Member, AMA’s Council on Medical Education and Science Chair, Alachua County Medical Association President, and member of Florida Medical Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Society for Technology in Anesthesia, and the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Societies.

Dr. Paulus also won the Quality Award Certificate of Merit from the Society for Ambulatory Care Professionals, the Society of Authors and the Royal Society of Medicine Book Award, and the Physician Customer Service Recognition Award from Shands. In addition, he authored and edited six books and twenty chapters of others, co-authored thirty papers in peer-reviewed journals, and lectured around the world. Lastly, Dr. Paulus took great pride in his role designing the operating rooms in the Shands South Tower. His work was so well regarded for its meticulous precision, he’d been asked to help design the new ASA headquarters in Chicago.

Dr. Paulus lived for service, for his family, his patients, his colleagues, and his hospital, working tirelessly to ensure the latter functioned as he knew it should. He woke up every morning delighted to care for us all.


Published in Gainesville Sun from Dec. 30 to Dec. 31, 2012