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Max Klein (1941–2015) died suddenly on 27 January 2015 while riding his bicycle in the beautiful surroundings of Stellenbosch near Cape Town. Professor Klein made a large contribution to the development of paediatric critical care and paediatric pulmonology in South Africa and beyond.
Max was born in the isolated central Karoo village of Calvinia where the lonely surroundings and stark landscape he experienced in his early years influenced his great strength of character. This may also account in part for his renowned powers of observation and his ability to improvise and solve problems in ingenious ways.
At an early stage of his life, Max was sent to boarding school in Cape Town. He had very few happy memories of his school career. After leaving school, he studied medicine at the University of Cape Town and early on began to show the first signs of his future promise. While still a medical student, he was invited to work in the heart research laboratory of the great heart transplant pioneer Chris Barnard. This was an experience that he greatly enjoyed, and he always took great pride in the fact that his first published research paper was coauthored with Chris Barnard.
Early in his career (1966–1969) he was appointed as a Wellcome Research Fellow in the first South African neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) at Groote Schuur Hospital, where he learnt mechanical …
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