Endowment and Training Opportunities Created in Memory of Local Anesthesiologist Killed in Tragic Crash

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In 2019, the life of Dr. W. Travis Lau was cut tragically short by a drunk driver who struck him and two others waiting to cross a street in Kakaʻako.

Lau, an avid runner, was training for a marathon. He was 39. Ahead of what would be his 44th birthday, his father, Dr. William Lau, along with Pacific Anesthesia and Hawaii Society of Anesthesiologists, created the W. Travis Lau, M.D. Endowment. 

Before Dr. Lau’s tragic death, he served Hawaiʻi as a cardiac anesthesiologist. Lau, a 1998 graduate of ʻIolani School, gave the medicines used during heart surgery. His peers at Pacific Anesthesia remembered him as a dedicated physician who served on numerous quality committees and set national standards for blood usage in open heart surgery while advocating for patient safety-first policies.

As experts predict a shortage of anesthesia care professionals in the next three to five years, Dr. Lau’s loss has a deeper impact on Hawaiʻi. Out of this tragedy, Lau’s father hopes to continue his son’s legacy by paving the way for others to continue down Travis’ path, which ended too soon.   

The W. Travis Lau, M.D. Endowment will support the development of anesthesiology services in Hawaiʻi through the John A. Burns School of Medicine by assisting 4th-year medical students in two-to-four-week anesthesiology electives on the continent. 

Always the innovator, at the time of his death, Dr. Lau was developing a safety suturing device that would prevent needle stick injuries. The hope is that the training opportunities provided by the endowment will lead to more advances in anesthesiology. 

Click here to contribute to the W. Travis Lau, M.D. Endowment.