In Memoriam

Doctor Michael Francis O’Brien, MD

MIchael O'Brien, MDDr. O’Brien passed away on December 18, 2020.  He was born on June 14, 1954, in Hartford, Connecticut.

After graduating from Columbia University, Dr. O’Brien completed his medical school and residency at the State University of New York at Downstate Brooklyn. He then went on to complete a spine fellowship with Keith Bridwell, MD at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis Missouri as well as an international spine fellowship with Alan Crockard, FRCS at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, England, and a subsequent Scoliosis Research Society traveling fellowship in 1997.

Dr. O’Brien was passionate about complex pediatric and adult spinal deformity and was extremely active in publication, study group participation, teaching, and implant development throughout his remarkable career.  His colleagues observed his willingness and excitement to treat patients with complex cases that other surgeons often shied away from.  Dr. O’Brien’s patients traveled the globe seeking his medical help and knowing his indelible genuine compassion for caring for his patients.  In 2006 he founded the Spine Deformity Team, a medical mission in Managua, Nicaragua where he donated his skill and steady hands to improve the lives of those less fortunate. His life exemplified curiosity, creativity, the pursuit of perfection and an insatiable restless desire to learn and explore.  His zeal for life was evident outside the OR as well, with a love of music, socializing, humor, and boundless generosity.  He embodied the idea that anything is possible when you put your mind to it and that the gifts that each of us are graced with are meant to be shared with others.

Michael is survived by his beloved children, Kalin, Connor, and Eryrnn, his former wife Leonor Montalvo O’Brien, his wife Heather Bell O’Brien, his parents Elinor and Lawrence O’Brien and his five siblings, Ann Marie O’Brien, Maureen Fallon, Timothy O’Brien, Patricia Scott, John O’Brien as well as many cousins, nephews, and nieces who loved time spent with him.