January 24, 2022

Main Content

In Memoriam: Dr. Kirk Reid

Published on Monday, January 24, 2022

The Medical Center extends its sympathy to the family of a former faculty member in appreciation for the loved one’s contributions to the academic health sciences center.

Dr. Randall “Kirk” Reid

R. Kirk Reid

Dr. Randall “Kirk” Reid of Madison, associate professor of anesthesiology at UMMC, a physician prized for his skills and vitality, and a silver-haired rock star for many medical residents, died unexpectedly on January 15, 2022. He was 58.

“He was one of the kindest people I’ve ever encountered,” said Dr. Peter Arnold, professor of surgery, chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and associate chief medical officer for hospital operations.

 “He took care of his partners, his patients and his family. He looked out for his friends. He was one of the first people to reach out to you whenever he thought something was wrong. I miss my friend.”

On both the clinical administrative sides, Arnold worked closely with Reid, who was vice chair of anesthesiology for clinical services and, less than a year ago, had also assumed a four-year term as medical chief of staff.

“This has truly devastated the department,” said Dr. Douglas Bacon, professor and chair of anesthesiology. “He was like a brother to me.

“Kirk was one of the most skilled anesthesiologists with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working. He could take on just about anything. He was a force of nature.”

Dr. Alan Jones described Reid as a “revered member of our medical staff. He was widely regarded as an outstanding clinician, mentor and friend,” said Jones, professor of emergency medicine, and associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs at UMMC.

“Those who knew him are honored to have called him a colleague and friend. His presence in our institution will be missed on a daily basis.”

A native of Columbus, Reid graduated from Mississippi State University before earning his medical degree in 1990 from the School of Medicine at UMMC. He completed his anesthesiology residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where he was named the outstanding graduating resident.

Before joining the Medical Center in 2015, he was in private practice with Jackson Anesthesia Associates for more than two decades.

“We were really lucky to have him come over from his successful practice,” Arnold said. “He very quickly became recognized for his ability to really get things done. Solving problems came very easily to him.

“I learned a tremendous amount from Kirk, administratively and clinically. Our specialties are different, but I considered him to be a teacher for me, just by the way he managed patients and the way he managed mayhem. He was excellent at managing mayhem.”

In 2017, Reid received the Patricia Norman, MD Award for Professionalism, UMMC Anesthesia. Which did not surprise Dr. Bryan Hierlmeier, associate professor of anesthesiology.

“If you wanted a job done, he was your man,” said Hierlmeier, the residency program director for cardiothoracic anesthesiology. “Kirk Reid was an amazing person. He meant more to our department than people will ever know.”

In 2020, Reid’s talent as an educator was acknowledged with the Trailblazer Teaching Award, School of Medicine.

“Residents really loved working with him,” Bacon said. “He would push them to do things they didn’t think they could do, just to show them how good they really are, and they appreciated that.”

Outside the Medical Center, Reid was just as vigorous. He competed in road races and triathlons and was an avid hunter. He was on a quail hunting trip in Deming, New Mexico, when an accident took his life.

“The one thing that has given me some peace about that is that he died doing what he loved so much,” Bacon said.

With him on the trip was a friend and colleague, along with and one of the three children brought up by Reid and his wife Mitcie Abel Reid.

Soon after the news reached Reid’s colleagues and coworkers, members of the Department of Anesthesiology honored him in a manner as vivid as his personality.

“Dr. Jenna Lane [assistant professor of anesthesiology] brought in some cookies she had baked,” Bacon said. “She told everyone to take one and leave a written comment about him.

“Those comments really have been a celebration of Kirk. They included what we call ‘Kirkisms,’ some of the things he liked to say.”

The comments traded in for a cookie included “You good?” and “We got lucky on that one!” But at least one phrase wasn’t by him; it was about him: “That hair, the Silver Fox.”