College of American Pathologists
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  Daniel L. Seckinger Jr., MD


CAP Today




January 2010
Feature Story

In Memoriam
Daniel L. Seckinger Jr., MD

Daniel L. Seckinger Jr., MD, CAP president from 1993–1995 and University of Miami School of Medicine clinical professor of pathology, died of ischemic cardiomyopathy at his Miami, Fla., home on Nov. 20, 2009. He was 81.

Dr. Seckinger established the pathology department at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, and with Cedars as a base, built a practice providing pathology services to numerous Miami area hospitals. He founded the laboratory referral practice Physicians Reference Laboratory, subsequently Consulab, and received the first issued license No. 1 from the state of Florida for laboratory drug testing.

“He was extremely bright and very innovative,” says Margaret Skinner, MD, a pathologist who worked with Dr. Seckinger for more than 10 years at Cedars Medical Center in Miami. “Most people are not aware that we had the first hospital laboratory outreach program in the country,” which was his brainchild.

“He was an early implementer,” Dr. Skinner says. “When a new technology came out, we had it in our laboratory.” Others echoed her sentiments.

Stanley Robboy, MD, CAP president-elect, viewed Dr. Seckinger as a mentor at the College. “He was an entrepreneur with a keen interest in the future of pathology,” he says. “He was upbeat, had clear visions, and spoke about opportunities that were otherwise murky for many others.”

Paul Raslavicus, MD, who served as CAP secretary-treasurer when Dr. Seck­inger was president, recalls Dr. Seckinger working hard to convince CAP leaders to embrace digital pathology. “He had the vision to foresee the transformation of pathology perhaps a decade before others. He was a great enthusiast for the Internet before its dominance,” Dr. Raslavicus says.

Dr. Seckinger was a member of the CAP Board of Governors from 1984–1990. He was named CAP Pathologist of the Year in 1996, and he received the CAP Outstanding Communicator Award in 2002. He had served on, among other CAP groups, the Finance Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, and the CAP Foundation Board of Directors.

Dr. Seckinger was also the College’s representative on the American Registry of Pathology (ARP) Board of Directors. He served as president of that board, during which time he immersed himself in the activities of the registry and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. “He spoke eloquently and with passion about the importance of diagnostic pathology in the armed services,” says William Gardner, MD, executive director of the ARP.

Thomas Wood, MD, who was active in the Florida Society of Pathologists along with Dr. Seckinger, and who served as CAP president after him, says, “He was not just a pathologist, he was an all-around physician.” Dr. Seckinger served as president of the Florida Society of Pathologists and, after his CAP presidency, was for a short time a vice president of scientific affairs for the American Medical Association.

Dr. Raslavicus recalls Dr. Seckinger’s varied interests. “He was a master chef in the kitchen, and he loved his library, which had some very rare and interesting books. He had a great collection of wine, which he loved to share with his friends and colleagues, and he was very fond of his dogs.” Others noted that he was a sports enthusiast and a world traveler. “He had a really good sense of humor; he could make fun of life,” Dr. Raslavicus says.

Says Dr. Wood, “He was always entertaining to be with and very active. The Seckingers had a flat in London and welcomed people to visit them there or use it. He was a very generous man.”

Many describe him as a family man. “He was very proud of his sons and devoted to his wife,” Dr. Wood says.

Dr. Seckinger is survived by his wife Patricia, two sons, and five grandchildren.