Kevin Malott, MD, a clinical associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, died July 26 in San Mateo, California after a brief illness. He was 49.
Malott is remembered at Stanford as a beloved teacher, expert physician and compassionate colleague. He excelled at helping trainee anesthesiologists learn new skills, was sought out for second opinions on difficult cases, and was known for using his humility, kindness and empathy to defuse stressful situations in the operating room.
“He was a very gentle person who always saw the good in people and was extremely committed to his patients,” said Ronald Pearl, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine.
Malott first came to Stanford as an anesthesiology resident in 1996. He joined the faculty at Stanford in 2001, and since 2015 specialized in treating pediatric patients at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.
“He was one of the most calm and generous souls we had in our department, always willing to step up and help other people,” said Anita Honkanen, MD, clinical professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine and the service chief of anesthesia at Packard Children’s. “I was so happy when he came to pediatric anesthesia full-time. He really liked being able to care for our pediatric patients.”
Malott was born Dec. 26, 1968, and grew up in the Tehachapi and Santa Barbara areas of California. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California-Irvine in 1991, receiving bachelor degrees in biology and in psychology. He earned his medical degree from the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine in 1995.
Malott liked the challenge of his complex cases at Stanford, according to his wife, Jocelyn Malott, a nurse practitioner in orthopedic oncology at Stanford Health Care. “He was very good with children and with parents who were nervous, keeping them at ease,” Jocelyn Malott said. Since her husband’s death, she has received many emails from anesthesiologists he trained, sharing how he was able to help them learn during challenging surgeries. “On hard cases, he could step in without putting people down,” she said. “Even in the most urgent situations, he could still provide a teaching moment without judgment.”
In 2014, the graduating anesthesiology residents voted to give Malott the H. Barrie Fairley Excellence in Teaching Award, an annual award honoring the residents’ favorite instructor.
Global medical missions
In his free time, Malott enjoyed hiking, travel, reading, playing the piano and attending San Francisco Giants games. Between 1999 and 2016, he participated in medical missions to several developing countries to assist organizations that provide plastic surgery services for children, such as repairing cleft lips and palates, and assisting burn victims.
Malott also had a well-known love of skateboarding and got some of his anesthesiologist colleagues to join him in his favorite ritual for settling his mind before shifts in the operating rooms: Arriving at Stanford early in the morning, he liked to park at the top of one of the parking structures and skateboard down through the expanses of empty ramps on his way to work.
Malott was predeceased by his father, Steven Malott. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his mother and stepfather, Sandy and Larry Short, of Tehachapi; daughter Elissa Malott of San Jose; son Justin Malott of San Jose; stepsons Paul Barrera and Jason Barrera, both of San Francisco; brother and sister-in-law Mark and Linda Malott, of Lancaster, California; stepbrother and stepsister-in-law Darren and Tammy Short, of Tehachapi; and five nieces.
A memorial service will be held at Stanford Memorial Church on Aug. 23 at 4 p.m.
Memorial donations may be made to the Kevin Malott Memorial Fund, which has been founded by his wife in the School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine to establish an award for graduating anesthesia residents. Contributions can be made via the “Make a Gift” link. The family would also appreciate memorial donations to Medical Missions for Children, or to Malott’s church, St. James the Apostle Catholic Church, 34700 Fremont Blvd., Fremont, CA, 94555.