Bernard Statland, a physician-turned-lawyer who also was an academic, author and federal agency director, died Oct. 19 at Montgomery Hospice in Rockville. He was 62 and had been battling brain cancer for 14 months.
Dr. Statland spent the early part of his professional life as a clinical pathologist. He held clinical laboratory directorships, conducted medical research and gave lectures as a faculty member at Boston University, the University of California at Davis and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
His reputation as an authority in the field of clinical pathology grew as he wrote or co-wrote 10 books and more than 150 scientific and medical articles.
After leading the pathology department of a hospital in Indianapolis in the late 1980s, he became chief executive and president of National Reference Laboratory in Nashville from 1991 to 1996 and Consolidated Laboratory Network in Lake Success, N.Y., from 1997 to 1999.
Seeking new professional challenges, he decided to attend law school at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota. During his first year of classes in 1999, he learned about a job opening at the Food and Drug Administration in Washington that seemed a perfect fit for his qualifications.
The position -- for which he was hired in 2000 -- was director of the office of device evaluation in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. The office manages programs to evaluate medical devices and clears them for clinical trials and marketing.
Dr. Statland, who had taken a leave of absence from the University of Minnesota, took night law courses at American University during his two years at the FDA.
When he left the FDA in 2002, he returned to Minnesota to complete his final year of law school. He accepted an offer to join the regulatory and health law practice of the Washington law firm Arent Fox. But as he studied for the bar exam in summer 2003, he appeared to struggle with the material, according to his wife of 35 years, Alexandra Statland.
"He said: 'My memory is not as good as it used to be,' " she said of her husband, who graduated from law school with honors and won first place in a moot court competition.
Dr. Statland's health began to wane. After he collapsed from a grand mal seizure, an MRI exam found a malignant tumor in the left temporal lobe of his brain, which controls short-term memory.
He underwent neurosurgery and two weeks later joined Arent Fox, where he continued to work even as he underwent radiation and chemotherapy.
He also attended brain tumor support groups, where he helped to comfort others with the illness.
"He really was able to balance the three parts of himself: the rational, emotional and spiritual self," his wife said. "The rational side was very methodical, but his spiritual self helped him cope."
Dr. Statland was a native of St. Paul, Minn. His father was a state tax lawyer, and his mother was a homemaker who died of breast cancer at age 42.
The eldest of three children, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with an undergraduate degree in 1963, a degree in medicine in 1968 and a doctorate in biochemistry in 1970.
He was elected Phi Beta Kappa, interned at University of California at San Diego Hospital and did his residency training in clinical pathology while a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Public Health Service.
He also was a fellow at the National Institutes of Health and State University Hospital in Copenhagen.
In addition to his wife, of Rockville, survivors include two children, Beverly Statland of New York and Eli Mark Statland of Los Angeles; and two sisters.