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Gordon Christensen (D) [2015 file photo].

Gordon D’Arcy Christensen, Sept. 14, 1948 — Feb. 29, 2020

Gordon D’Arcy Christensen, 71, a member of the MU School of Medicine faculty since 1988, died Feb. 29, 2020, at his home surrounded by his family. The cause of death was cancer.

Dr. Christensen was a professor of medicine specializing in infectious diseases and tropical medicine. As a physician, he was best known for taking on difficult cases and making elusive diagnoses….

….Best known in scientific circles for his research into the cause of medical device infections, Dr. Christensen was the first to recognize that the coagulase-negative staphylococci were a major cause of medical device infections, particularly infections of intravascular catheters. After this, while working with his close colleague, W. Andrew Simpson, they discovered that the capacity to attach to the surfaces of medical devices by forming a sticky layer of bacteria accounted for the predilection to infect medical devices….

….Dr. Christensen’s career in laboratory research abruptly ended when he “blew the whistle” on the attempt by officials of the Department of Veterans, with the assistance of MU officials, to conceal and block a criminal investigation into the murder of multiple veteran patients at the Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in 1992. This tragedy led to Dr. Christensen appearing before three Congressional committees. To his bitter disappointment, it did not lead to prosecution of the murderer or punishment of those officials who blocked the investigation and concealed the deaths. Most regrettably, it also did not lead to an explanation for the tragedy or compensation for the families of murdered veterans….

….in 2016, Dr. Christensen was the Democratic candidate to represent Missouri’s 4th Congressional District in Congress….