Published November 15, 2018

Gift Will Support Research on Minimally Invasive Surgery

Lawrence Goldstein and his wife Barbara.

On September 14, 2013, Lawrence Goldstein was resting in his New York City apartment between Yom Kippur services when he doubled over with an excruciating stomach ache, “one I would not wish on my worst enemy,” Goldstein says. He and his wife, Barbara, took a cab to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where renowned gastroenterologist Michel Kahaleh diagnosed him with acute pancreatitis, caused by a blockage in his pancreatic duct. Facing a life-threatening condition, Goldstein put his faith that day in Kahaleh, who operated and removed the blockage.

Goldstein’s recovery was not easy, requiring a weeklong stay in the intensive care unit followed by several more weeks in the hospital. He couldn’t eat or drink anything for a few more months after that, to allow his pancreas to heal.

Goldstein, now 83 and still putting in full days as president of SMP Asset Management, an investment firm he founded in 1982, credits Kahaleh, who joined the faculty of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School earlier this year, with saving his life.

While recovering from the surgery, Goldstein learned about Kahaleh’s research on minimally invasive procedures to treat bowel and pancreatic disorders. Their conversations spurred the Goldsteins to pledge $1 million to establish the Edna and Charles Goldstein Research Fund, in memory of Lawrence’s parents, to support Kahaleh’s research. “Barbara and I wanted to help him achieve his research goals,” Lawrence Goldstein says.

One procedure Kahaleh hopes to improve is endoscopic ultrasound, which allows a doctor to view the digestive tract from inside the patient and remove lesions or obstructions, eliminating the need for invasive surgery. Such procedures benefit patients by lowering the risk of infection, reducing pain and scarring, cutting health care costs, and decreasing the time patients spend in hospitals.

“Patients undergoing less invasive procedures heal faster,” Kahaleh says. “If we can meet patient demand for minimally invasive interventions while reducing health care costs, it’s a home run.”