Colleagues, Friends Fondly Remember Early Sterilization Standards Leader

Posted January 23, 2018

Neal Danielson
Neal Danielson

Friends and former colleagues of Neal Danielson, retired director of materials management for Wesley Hospital in Wichita, KS, are remembering him as a pioneer in the development of sterilization standards for healthcare facilities and a “true gentleman.” The tributes follow Danielson’s death in October at the age of 82, news of which is still making its way to those who once worked with him.

Danielson was one of the founding members of the AAMI Sterilization Standards Committee in the mid-1970s and chaired AAMI’s Hospital Practices Working Group on Steam Sterilization for nearly 20 years. Danielson also assumed a leading role in defending the continued practice of ethylene oxide sterilization in healthcare facilities.

“For decades, Neal was a prime mover in the development of guidelines for good practice in sterile processing,” said former standards colleague Judy Veale. “In particular, he was a major contributor to the achievement of consensus on the first edition of ANSI/AAMI ST79, Comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance in health care facilities, which was then, and continues to be in its later editions, the foremost national guideline for sterile processing.”

According to Joe Lewelling, AAMI’s vice president of emerging technologies and health IT, Danielson was a dedicated leader who was “vital to the creation and the success of the AAMI Sterilization Standards Program.”

“He was an active member who rarely―if ever―missed a meeting up until his retirement about 10 years ago,” Lewelling said. “He was a lovely human being and will be greatly missed.”

Veale echoed those sentiments. “I enjoyed working with Neal more than I can say,” she said. “He combined able leadership with patience, an astounding attention to detail, and not least, good humor. What I will always remember most about him, though, was that he was a true gentleman.”