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Richmond man killed in avalanche in Banff National Park

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond man died in an avalanche in Canada earlier this month.

Massachusetts General Hospital officials said Victor Fedorov and another doctor were snowshoeing in Banff National Park in Alberta when they disappeared on March 14. His body was recovered three days later.

Fedorov was born in Russia, but raised in Richmond and attended the University of Richmond.

Massachusetts General Hospital officials said Fedorov had unending charm and an extraordinary sense of humor.

 Victor Fedorov

Victor Fedorov

The complete statement from the hospital is below:

Dear Colleagues,

We are deeply saddened to share the tragic news that two of our extraordinary and beloved internal medicine residents Lauren Zeitels, MD, PhD, and Victor Fedorov, MD, PhD, died in an avalanche while snowshoeing near Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. This tragic accident occurred despite their extensive planning and taking every safety precaution. The last two weeks have been extremely difficult and emotional for our community as together we waited, hoped and prayed for a different outcome. We mourn these dedicated and promising physicians who were full of life and embodied the kind of devotion, compassion and brilliance that represent the best of medicine and humanity.

Lauren and Victor were vibrant, young physician-scientists in the second year of the MGH Internal Medicine Residency Program. They were leaders within the Stanbury Physician-Scientist Pathway and strong advocates for scientific investigation driven by curiosity and fueled by a desire to offer hope to those suffering from disease. Together, they founded our Pathways service and were excited to grow and lead this initiative, which links the tools of fundamental science to unexplained patients on the medical service. Through Pathways, Lauren and Victor sought to bring the spirit of scientific inquiry back to the bedside while advancing our ability to serve our patients. After less than a year, it is clear that this initiative will have a tremendous impact on our training program and the opportunities for physician-scientists across the MGH. Their passion for what academic medicine could be was infectious, invigorating, and inspiring.

Lauren grew up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in biochemistry. In addition to a master’s in philosophy from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar, she completed her medical and doctoral degrees at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine before she came to the MGH. Lauren’s doctoral research focused on human genetics where she studied the role of miR-26 in colorectal cancer. She hoped to pursue subspecialty fellowship training in rheumatology. Lauren was an exemplary teacher, known for weaving an understanding of science and pathophysiology with clinical pearls to further the care of her patients. She took meticulous care of her patients and her fellow residents, always ensuring that everyone benefited from her exceptional intellect and unwavering commitment to doing what was right.

Victor was born in Moscow, Russia, and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He attended the University of Richmond as the Ethyl and Albemarle Science Scholar and received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science and mathematics. He completed both his medical and doctoral degrees at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, performing his doctoral research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His clinical and research interests were in T-cell and stem cell therapies, and he planned to pursue subspecialty fellowship training in hematology and oncology. Victor pushed all who worked with him to always delve deeper in the pursuit of scientific understanding. With unending charm and an extraordinary sense of humor, he constantly reminded us to find joy and adventure inside and outside the hospital.

Victor and Lauren enthusiastically embraced all life had to offer. They loved people, science, travel, and experiencing new cultures. They cherished interacting and connecting with all they encountered – patients, families, colleagues, mentors, unit staff, support staff, researchers, trainees. Their dedication to delivering compassionate care of the highest quality coupled with a resolve to understand and find answers to poorly understood diseases are the legacy they leave at MGH – indeed, at every place they touched.

We have been in close contact with Lauren’s and Victor’s families, and on behalf of every member of our department, we have extended our deepest condolences. We grieve with them. This unthinkable loss has left a hole in our department, our hospital, and our hearts.

Plans for memorial services are under way, and we will share that information with you as it becomes available. Their families have requested that donations in their memories be made to the Lauren Zeitels Memorial Pathways Fund and the Victor Fedorov Memorial Fund at the MGH.

On behalf of the residency program, we are very grateful for the tremendous support that has been provided to the housestaff by the MGH community over the last two weeks. These connections are so important for our mourning and healing process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of any assistance at this incredibly difficult time.

Katrina and Jay

Katrina Armstrong, MD
Physician-in-Chief
Massachusetts General Hospital

Jatin Vyas, MD, PhD
Residency Program Director
Department of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital