Dr Stanley Biber Dies at 82

January 17, 2006

by Dr. Laura Ellis

This morning, in the company of his family, Dr Stanley Biber, 82, died in St Mary Corwin Hospital, Pueblo, Colorado. He had been ill for the past 2 months. He had done more transsexual surgeries than anyone else in the world.

Doc Biber has been a robust fellow who, for the past several years, had been doing general medicine in Trinidad, Colorado, a very needy community. Until November be has been seeing 20+ patients per day, then going to the gym to work out for half an hour. He also kept a ranch with several thousand head of Black Angus cattle. He liked to stay busy.

In November he developed a pneumonia that was unresponsive to several of the usual treatments. By mid-December he was worn, but gave testimony at a meeting of the Las Animas County Commissioners, who withheld a grant awarded to the hospital, holding it hostage for 2 places on the Board of Directors of the hospital. He gave historical perspective, explaining why it was inappropriate to put political appointees on the Board.

On December 23rd, I last saw Dr Biber in the emergency room at Mt San Raphael Hospital, where we both practice. He was coughing, and an x-ray showed that the pneumonia was still present, and that he was not getting the oxygen he needed.

On Tuesday, December 27th, he underwent bronchoscopy (a procedure looking at the airways in the lung from the inside). For this procedure he was under anesthesia (which is the rule for this process). He was never able to wake up fully and start breathing on his own again. On January 3rd, after a weekend of losing function of his kidneys, he underwent a renal biopsy, which reportedly was normal. It was thought that with dialysis and keeping him on a ventilator he should just, using his own prodigious powers of recuperation, recover. This did not happen.

Over the past weekend, despite every effort of the medical community, Dr Biber deteriorated, and his wife, Mary Lee, called the family together. They were with him at the end.
He will be remembered as the spiritual godfather of the transgender community. I will remember him as a friend and colleague, and will miss him.