Obituary: Andrew Fisher / Doctor never stopped helping those in need

Died Dec. 8, 2013


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On his CV, Andrew Fisher described himself as an "amateur health care policy wonk, four-season bicycle commuter and 10 years living TV-free."

The Pittsburgh doctor with a quirky sense of humor, who colleagues remember as empathetic and "always worried about everyone else," died Sunday while checking on others in a crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

One of more than 50 drivers who collided in a series of wrecks around 12:30 p.m. in Chester County, Dr. Fisher, 35, of Friendship was struck and killed by a car when he got out of his vehicle to check on an injured traveler.

"He died trying to help other people, help people who were in need," said Emily Burns, a fellow physician at Solano & Kokales Internal Medicine Associates-UPMC. "I think that about sums him up. He didn't even have his coat on."

At the Oakland office where Dr. Fisher worked, trying to get all eight doctors to agree could be like "herding cats," Francis Solano said.

But Dr. Fisher always found solutions and ways to compromise.

"He was the herder of us," Dr. Solano said, adding that Dr. Fisher's eagerness to communicate was a rare trait in medicine.

Dr. Fisher's calming demeanor and perspective likely came from his time serving with the Peace Corps in Jamaica, he said.

While in Kingston, Dr. Fisher worked with youth at risk, started an advanced education program, obtained a grant to have a school building constructed and worked in a pharmacy.

It's also where Dr. Fisher met his wife, fellow Peace Corps volunteer Elly Fisher.

The experience there pushed him toward medical school, Ms. Fisher said. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed his residency at UPMC. Dr. Fisher helped produce the theatrical "Scope and Scalpel" while he was a medical student and attended every show since.

As a doctor, he was thrilled to work in internal medicine, Ms. Fisher said, adding that he loved his patients.

"It breaks my heart. He was only a doctor for three years, and he had so much more to give," Ms. Fisher said.

Dr. Fisher, who grew up in Woodbury, Minn., was also passionate about public education, the environment and politics, she said.

"This man was so smart, and it was so great that he was using all of that brain power that he had," she said.

Dr. and Ms. Fisher have two children, Peter, 5, and Estelle, 3.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Third Presbyterian Church in Shadyside.

Dr. Fisher loved having friends from different social circles come together, Ms. Fisher said, such as at their 2005 wedding.

"Everyone meeting each other and having all this love; it was beautiful. I know that's going to happen again on Saturday. That's his favorite thing," Ms. Fisher said.

Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com.


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