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Obituary: Stanley Paul Hmiel, MD, PhD, pediatric nephrologist, 64

Was medical director of pediatric kidney transplant program

September 6, 2023

Stanley Paul Hmiel, MD, PhD, a pediatric nephrologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died surrounded by family Aug. 28, 2023, at a hospice in Creve Coeur, Mo., after a three-year struggle with colon cancer. He was 64.

A professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Hypertension & Pheresis, Hmiel was medical director of the pediatric kidney transplant program and director of the fellowship program in pediatric nephrology for more than 25 years.

Hmiel came to St. Louis in 1989, when he became a resident at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He remained in St. Louis for his fellowship and in 1994 joined the faculty at Washington University, where he remained his entire career.

In addition to his general nephrology practice, Hmiel’s clinical and research emphasis was to improve outcomes for pediatric transplant patients, including reducing their complications and medication burdens. An outstanding educator, he trained several generations of pediatricians and pediatric nephrologists and remained a beloved resource to many of them.

“During his amazing 34-year presence on our campus, Paul Hmiel significantly impacted multiple generations of patients, colleagues and learners,” said Vikas R. Dharnidharka, MD, director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Hypertension & Pheresis. “He was an astute clinician, consulted by colleagues on difficult cases. He won the best subspecialty teacher of the year award — given to just one person annually in our big department — an amazing three separate times. He had many accomplishments, but even those cannot fully convey his kind soul and gentle demeanor.”

Hmiel was the local principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Chronic Kidney Disease in Children study, as well as the North American Pediatric Renal Trials and Cooperative Studies group.

Over the last decade, Hmiel became involved in clinical informatics and decision support, attaining board certification in the former. During his time at the School of Medicine, he also chaired the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, and was a member of the Washington University Institutional Review Board.

He was a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, American Society for Transplantation, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Raised in Beaver, Penn., he earned from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland a bachelor’s degree in engineering, a PhD in pharmacology and his medical degree. He received a Winston Churchill Foundation scholarship for a year’s study at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. There, he earned a master’s degree in pharmacology.

His greatest joys were his family and his young patients, as they grew into adults.

Hmiel is survived by his wife of 39 years, Roberta Miljus Hmiel; his son, Stephen (Emma); his daughter, Laura; and two grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 110 N. Warson Road, in Ladue, Mo. A reception will follow. To help celebrate his life, the family invites attendees to wear Hawaiian shirts or otherwise bright colors to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Missouri or Illinois, or the Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship fund.