Friday, May 25, 2018
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Dr. Michael A. Yanik, 1948-2011: Plastic surgeon headed burn unit

Dr. Michael A. Yanik, a plastic surgeon and longtime director of the burn unit at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center who was noted for his care of patients and his support of staff, died Monday in St. Vincent of congestive heart failure. He was 63.

Dr. Yanik of Wood County's Middletown Township retired from the burn unit in 2009. He had been affiliated with Arrowhead Plastic Surgeons and retired earlier from plastic and reconstructive surgery.

"He contributed a great deal to the medical Community and to medical care in Toledo," said Dr. John H. Robinson, a retired plastic surgeon and partner in Arrowhead. "Michael Yanik was the best burn surgeon in the United States. He was that good. He was a burn scientist. He understood the complex care of the burn victim, which is the most complex trauma care there is, but more important, he understood the concept of urgency in dealing with these patients. On a national level, people knew Mike Yanik."

In northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, "he was known for his hard work and dedication to the care of burn patients," said Barb Dianda-Martin, St. Vincent vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer.

He was committed as well to the education of physicians and nurses, and his burn unit staff was among St. Vincent's most tenured, she said.

At patient-care conferences, his team included pastoral care, nursing, and physical therapy staff "to talk about that individual in a very holistic way," she said. "He surrounded himself with the team that complemented what he hoped to accomplish.

"Mike was a no-nonsense sort of person. He knew what needed to be done and expected it to be done, but it was for the benefit of those he served."

He did some cosmetic surgery, but much of his effort was in reconstructive work for burn patients and people with head and neck cancers.

"He knew that what these people experienced was life- altering, and he wanted to help them fit back in society," Ms. Dianda-Martin said.

He arrived in Toledo in 1979 and trained with the late Dr. John Kelleher, a nationally acclaimed plastic surgeon. He taught at the former Medical College of Ohio and practiced at most area hospitals, although he concentrated on St. Vincent, where he was plastic-surgery section chief and served on many committees.

"My husband loved being able to help people, being able to give them the best quality of life he was able to," his wife, Rosemary, said.

He was born June 24, 1948, in Cleveland to Jane and Frank Yanik. He was a graduate of Padua Franciscan High School in Parma, Ohio. At Bowling Green State University, he was assigned to a pre-med program by an adviser who declared, " 'You know, you're too smart not to go into pre-med,' " his wife recalled. He received his medical degree from St. Louis University.

The son of a carpenter and a woodworker, "he was very unassuming," his wife said. "He could talk to anyone and fit right in."

Barn building became a family project. His diverse interests included beekeeping. He made the frames and inserts himself and had 78 hives until colony-collapse disorder claimed all but two. More recently, he averaged 10 hives a year.

Surviving are his wife, Rosemary, whom he married Sept. 15, 1973, sons, Mathew, Seth, and Christopher Yanik, daughter, Andrea Yanik, brothers, Mark and Martin Yanik, and sisters, Marcia Karnes and Janine Brooks.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Coyle Funeral Home, with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Friday in the mortuary. Funeral services are to be at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church, Toledo, where he was a member since 1979.

The family suggests tributes to the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center Foundation for the burn center, St. Patrick of Heatherdowns, or a charity of the donor's choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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