Photo of Christopher Lysyj posing for a photo on a bridge above a river

Master of Science in Anesthesia student Christopher Lysyj passes away

Known for his inquisitive nature, Christopher Lysyj was, at times, an unofficial ambassador for his classmates in the Master of Science in Anesthesia program, often taking it upon himself to seek clarification during class.

This week, his classmates and professors are mourning the loss of Lysyj, who was a first-year student in the program. He was 23.

Those who knew Lysyj well said he strived for success in everything he tried. He received positive reviews from clinical instructors early on in the program, including from Joseph Rifici, executive program director and assistant professor of anesthesiology, who said Lysyj “appeared to be a natural.”

Zach Barsman, interim director of didactic education and clinical instructor in the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, said Lysyj was motivated and would often text him with questions based on his own personal research. 

Classmate Libby Jubas said Lysyj always showed up to class ready and engaged, and noted that it was clear he loved what he was doing in anesthesiology. 

Photo of Christopher Lysyj and his sister posing for a photo in front of a rock formation
Lysyj and his sister

Lysyj initially started the program in May 2019, but took a leave of absence, returning in May of this year when anesthesiology students marked their first day of classes.

Rifici called Lysyj “affable,” “approachable,” “nice” and “respectful.” And his mother, Ann Atkinson, noted her son’s witty nature and said she would most miss his eccentric, intellectual conversations. She said he was a deep thinker and a planner who was “wickedly smart” and funny.

Lysyj was passionate about academics and was a standout student in high school and at The Ohio State University, where he earned his undergraduate degree. He had eyed a career in the medical field since he was in high school, ultimately setting his sights on Case Western Reserve’s anesthesiology program.

Outside of the classroom, Lysyj had many interests, including fishing, board games, astrology, chess and skiing. Atkinson even noted her son had a knack for interior decorating and had recently begun trying out yoga. In high school, Lysyj was a member of the golf team. In whatever he was doing, Jubas said, Lysyj was passionate.

Elia Friend, another classmate, said Lysyj was never afraid to be himself, a quality she admired. 

“His passing is a loss to the world,” Atkinson said. “He was a shining star.”

The Daily will share information about memorial services should details become available. 

Students who would like support during this time are encouraged to contact counseling services at 216.368.5872. This line is staffed by a counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Faculty and staff can access counseling at any time by calling IMPACT Solutions at 1.800.227.6007; you can learn more about their programs at