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Bernard Lown

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Bernard Lown at the dedication of the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge, 2008

Bernard Lown (June 7, 1921 – February 16, 2021) was a Lithuanian-born American cardiologist and anti-nuclear war activist. He was the original developer of the DC defibrillator and the cardioverter, as well as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Career[change | change source]

Lown developed the direct current defibrillator for cardiac resuscitation and the cardioverter for correcting rapid disordered heart rhythms, and introduced a new use for the drug lidocaine to control heartbeat disturbances. Throughout his medical career, Lown focused on two major medical challenges: the problem of sudden cardiac death and the role of psychological stress on the cardiovascular system. His investigations led to many medical break-throughs.

His work made possible and safe much of modern cardiac surgery, as well as a host of other innovations.

In 1985, Lown accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an organization he co-founded with Soviet cardiologist Dr. Yevgeny Chazov, who later was Minister Of Health of the USSR.

Personal life[change | change source]

Lown was born to a Jewish[1] family in Utena, Lithuania, the son of a rabbi.[2] He was raised in Lewiston, Maine. Lown studied at the University of Maine and at Johns Hopkins University. He was married to Louise Lown. They had three children.

Lown died at his home in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts from pneumonia caused by congestive heart failure on February 16, 2021 at the age of 99.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. [Bernard Lown Interviewed by Peter Tishler http://videocenter.brighamandwomens.org/files/dmfile/Lown_Bernard.pdf], September 2011
  2. The Catholic Church in World Politics, By Eric O. Hanson, Princeton University Press, 14 Jul 2014, page 420
  3. McFadden, Robert D. (February 16, 2021). "Bernard Lown, Inventive Heart Doctor and Antiwar Activist, Dies at 99". The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2021.

Other websites[change | change source]