Andrew Jay Drexler died Sunday, November 10, 2019, in Santa Monica, California. Thousands of patients and colleagues mourn the passing of such a great doctor and friend.
He was among the most prominent practitioners of intensive insulin management, tight glycemic control during pregnancy, and insulin pump therapy. He was responsible for facilitating the transfer of more than thirty pancreas transplant patients with type 1 diabetes and end-stage renal disease in the New York area to centers in other parts of the country because transplantation was not available in New York. In the mid-1990s, Andrew Drexler became involved with utilizing these new therapies for type 2 diabetes and teaching them to other physicians. He also was instrumental in the establishment of the Mt. Sinai Diabetes Center, among of the best comprehensive diabetes centers in the country. Over the years, he helped hundreds of women with type 1 diabetes deliver healthy babies. On the wall of his office in New York City, he had photos of all the moms along with the children he had helped deliver safely into the world. I was one of those moms who was fortunate enough to have him as a doctor.
When I met Dr Drexler, or Andy as he liked us to call him, I was distressed. My HbA1c was somewhere around 10-11%. He took this in stride, and while I sobbed in his office, he told me, “With some work, were going to help you. I think it will take about 3 months.” He and Carolyn Robertson, who worked with Andy for decades, taught me things about type 1 diabetes no one had taken the time to share–including insulin management, nutrition, and counselling. After three months, many calls and a few more visits, my HBA1c was 7.2%. Years later, when I became pregnant in London, UK, I moved back to New York to be specifically under Andy’s care. The pregnancy was difficult and I was placed in the hospital for 12 weeks before my daughter was born. If it had not been for Andy’s daily rounds and assistance (and pressure) on the team of perinatologists, I don’t believe the outcome would have been successful. I credit Andy with saving my life and my daughter’s. He knew that, and he never argued the point! Andy had a great sense of humour, which made it easy to always be honest with him about the ups and downs of Type 1. He was deeply moved by the strength and resilience of his patients. We talked about it often.