January 02, 2019
1 min read

Dialysis machine inventor Richard Drake, MD, dies

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Richard Drake headshot
Richard F. Drake

Richard F. Drake, MD, a partner in development of the Drake-Willock dialysis machine in the 1960s, died on Nov. 26, 2018. He was 85 years old.

In 1964, he worked with Charles B. Willock to develop the Drake-Willock dialysis machine and treated the first home dialysis patient in 1965. From 1967 to 1975, Drake-Willock Co., based in Milwaukie, Oregon, became the principal dialysis machine used in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

In addition to working as president of Drake-Willock until selling the company to Althin Medical in 1978, Drake continued his medical practice. He was one of the founders of the National Kidney Foundation of Oregon and worked as chairman of the board for more than 20 years.

“Dick Drake was not just very accomplished, he was good company,” John H. Sadler, MD, a Baltimore nephrologist and member of Nephology News & Issues Editorial Advisory Board, told Healio/Nephrology. “Charlie Willock was a master engineer and inventor, but Dick had the passion for a better machine and gave Charlie the guidance to create a machine that served thousands of patients well. It was logical, easy and reliable. I was happy to have the first one on the East Coast ... [He was] a good man and good doctor.”

A celebration of Drake’s life is planned for Jan. 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland. –by Mark E. Neumann


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