1917 - 2015
Borys Surawicz MD, MACG
Borys died May 19, 2015 in Palm Coast Florida. He was born in Moscow, Russia in 1917. He moved with his parents and younger brother to Wilno, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania) 4 years later. There he received his MD degree in 1939 at Stefan Batory University on the day the new German rulers of the city permanently shut down the university. After spending the last year of WWII at a Dachau work camp he worked the next 6 years in a hospital for displaced persons in Munich Germany and at a camp for refugee children with tuberculosis in Holmestrand Norway. He developed an interest in electrocardiography, leading to a publication in Acta Medica Scandinavica.. This led to a research position at the University of Vermont so in 1951 he and his wife and 3 year old daughter immigrated to the US. In Vermont he began research but also completed an internship and residency in medicine. Following this he had further training in cardiology at the Philadelphia General Hospital (the city hospital associated with the University of Pennsylvania). In 1955 he returned to the University of Vermont as a faculty member, continuing his research, patient care and teaching, and receiving a teacher of the year award in 1963. That same year he was recruited to organize and head the department of cardiology at the new medical school at the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he stayed for 19 years. He then
moved to Indianapolis to be a faculty member at the University of Indiana and the Krannert Institute of Cardiology, becoming Emeritus Professor at age 70. He then worked in the St. Vincent's Hospital Department of Cardiology in Indianapolis until he retired in 2005 and moved to Palm Coast, Florida. His research focused on the heart's electrical activity in health and disease, from single cells to the whole heart, with seminal contributions to electrocardiography including the effect of electrolytes and medications. He authored more than 200 scientific papers and book chapters. He authored and
co-authored several books on heart disease, including two electrocardiography text books. Borys was President of the American College of Cardiology in 1979-80. He received numerous awards for his research and teaching. He trained and mentored cardiologists from the United States and many other countries including Argentina, Hungary, India and Japan. Throughout his life he maintained a strong interest in music and literature. In 2009 he coauthored a book, "Doctors in Fiction." His son Serge and his daughter Nina died in 2002. He is survived by his wife Frida and his daughters Christina (and husband James Bushyhead, of Seattle WA) and Tanya (and husband William Paul, of Nashville TN), son in law William Smith of Phoenix AZ and grandchildren Joe, Jesse and Daniel Bushyhead, Allison and Alex Smith, and Austin, Joanna and Henry Paul.
Published in New York Times from Jul. 15 to Jul. 16, 2015.