Lown inspires young physician as patient

1 min read

Bernard Lown, professor emeritus at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, had a renowned career as a physician and researcher — including pioneering the development of the defibrillator and earning a Nobel Peace Prize along with his co-founders of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. But at age 96, he is finding himself increasingly in the role of patient.

An encounter with Lown while he was hospitalized for pneumonia proved transformative for young physician Rich Joseph, who wrote about the experience in a New York Times column published Feb. 24, 2018. Lown questioned his treatment, which he found to be too focused on fixing his malfunctioning body parts with too little consideration for his healing. Joseph, he said, needed to help fix the system. The two continued a friendship after Lown was released.

Joseph wrote, “As I navigate my professional journey, Dr. Lown’s example inspires me to go to work every day with the perspective of a patient, the spirit of an activist and the heart of a healer.”

Read New York Times article: Doctors, Revolt!