McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Funeral services Friday for Canadian heart pioneer

Published: October 24 , 2006
Arnold Johnson
Dr. Arnold Johnson pioneered the application of both internal and external pacemakers for the treatment of heart block .

Funeral services will be held Friday for a McMaster University professor who was also a Canadian cardiology pioneer.

Dr. Arnold L. Johnson, 93, died Thursday, October 19 in Hamilton following a brief illness.

A distinguished professor emeritus in McMaster University’s Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Dr. Johnson first earned an international reputation for his innovative contributions to cardiology. After he retired he made his name again as he took a prominent role in developing, promoting and teaching of ethical decision making in health care.

More than 50 years ago, Dr. Johnson performed the first heart catheterization for congenital heart disease in Canada. He went on to pioneer the application of both internal and external pacemakers for the treatment of heart block and established the first comprehensive program for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

"Dr. Arnold Johnson is the father of cardiology in Hamilton," said cardiologist Dr. Salim Yusuf, a professor, director of McMaster’s Population Health Research Institute and Heart and Stroke Foundation chair in cardiology. "He was much loved, admired and respected. We all owe him a deep debt of gratitude."

Dr. Johnson’s long and distinguished career in academic medicine began at McGill University in 1946. From 1971 to 1973, he spent two years as a Senior Fellow at Laval University and the University of North Carolina studying clinical epidemiology. In 1974, he joined the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University where he continued his career in research, education and clinical care.

Upon his retirement in 1983, Dr. Johnson assumed a prominent role in the development, promotion and teaching of ethical decision-making within hospital and health care settings. He became the impetus for efforts in this area in McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences. While chairing a multi-disciplinary clinical ethics committee at the former Chedoke-McMaster Hospital, he established and chaired a committee on Education in Medical Ethics for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

These efforts led to the writing of a groundbreaking booklet for the university’s MD program entitled Introduction to Ethical Decision Making in the Health Care Setting. The Faculty of Health Sciences’ focus on medical ethics today is largely due to Dr. Arnold’s initiative, inspiration, dedication and work, culminating in the creation of the Arnold L. Johnson Chair in Health Care Ethics.

Dr. Johnson was honoured by McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences with the establishment of the annual Arnold L. Johnson Lectureship in Cardiology. In 2002, McMaster University awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Science.

Associate professor Lisa Schwartz, who holds the endowed chair position, called Dr. Johnson a compassionate and remarkable person. A former patient of his told her she owes her life to this stern, but fatherly, doctor. "He and the late Dr. John Thomas were the spark behind the establishment of the first clinical ethics committee in Canada," she said.

Dr. Johnson was active at the University until he was 90. Colleagues recognized him as a man of exceptional ability.

"He was a pioneer in cardiology who had a broad vision and a very rich career which included not only cardiology but health care research and health care ethics. He made an enormous contribution," said Dr. Brian Haynes, chair and professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster.

Dr. Arnold is survived by his wife, Anne, two children, Philip and Nancy, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Friday, October 27 at 11 a.m. at the Marlatt Funeral Home and Cremation Centre, 615 Main Street East, Hamilton.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Arnold L. Johnson Chair in Health Care Ethics. Donations may be sent to University Advancement, DTC-125, 1st Floor, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1.

.

[BACK] [TOP]
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0