Abra­hamGuz

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

BORN LON­DON , AU­GUST 12, 1929. DIED LON­DON, APRIL 11, 2014, AGED 84

KNOWN AS the fa­ther of the ECG, the physi­cian and sci­en­tist Pro­fes­sor Abra­ham Guz was an in­ter­na­tional au­thor­ity on breath­ing disor­ders and the neu­ral con­trol of re­sp­sir­a­tory func­tion. He pub­lished 300 pa­pers and served on var­i­ous pro­fes­sional bod­ies, in­clud­ing the Royal Col­lege of Physi­cians, the Med­i­cal Rsearch Coun­cil as well as editorial and grants com­mit­tees.

The son of Rus­sian Jewish par­ents, his ma­ter­nal fam­ily had fled their coun­try af­ter two of his mother’s broth­ers had been killed. He stud­ied at Hack­ney Downs Gram­mar School, where he be­came head boy and won a state schol­ar­ship to Char­ing Cross Med­i­cal School in 1947. He spent his na­tional ser­vice with the RAMC, and was sent to Ger­many, where he be­came act­ing ma­jor and chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of the hos­pi­tal, serv­ing the Bri­tish Army head­quar­ters on the Rhine.

Af­ter this he spent two years at Har­vard and then two more at the Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Re­sarch In­sti­tute in San Fran­cisco study­ing the new tech­niques which cur­rently shaped clib­ni­cal prac­tice in heart and lung dis­ease.

Back in Bri­tain in 1961, Prof Guz be­gan worked in the newly opened aca­demic De­part­ment of Medicine at Char­ing X, be­com­ing head of de­part­ment in 1982. His Amer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence in the field of car­diac me­chan­ics con­trib­uted to his es­tab­lish­ment of one of the first ECG mon­i­tor­ing units for coro­nary pa­tients and those with se­vere res­pi­ra­tory fail­ure, in­curred dur­ing the Lon­don smogs. Awarded the the ti­tle Pro­fes­sor of Medicine in 1973, he su­per­vised an ar­te­rial blood gas anal­y­sis ser­vice and was re­spon­si­ble for aca­demic and clin­i­cal res­pi­ra­tory ser­vices. He ob­tained one of the first com­put­erised ser­ci­ces for pa­tol­ogy labs.

In the wake of fund­ing short­ages, he launched his own char­ity, Breath­less­ness Re­search Trust and pi­o­neered a lab­o­ra­tory re­search­ing sleep, study­ing the phys­i­ol­ogy of nor­mal and sleep ap­noea. In his new lung bio­chem­istry lab, he in­ves­ti­gated the be­hav­iour of cells in the tres­pi­ra­tory tract.

His quick-wit­ted per­son­al­ity, eas­ily at­tracted young peo­ple whom he en­thused with his ideas and his pos­i­tive think­ing. He re­tired in 1994 but con­tin­ued his re­search into res­pi­ra­tory medicine teach­ing in Ox­ford for many years. Prof Guz played the vi­o­lin and while no great sports buff, he pro­moted his de­part­ment’s cricket team. He is sur­vived by Nita, his wife of 56 years, three daugh­ters Gabrielle, Deb­o­rah and Stephanie and nine grand­chil­dren.

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