Lives of the fellows

Ivan Joseph Pinto

b.8 October 1925 d.14 March 1997
MB BS Bombay(1949) MD(1951) MRCP(1955) MRCP Edin(1955) FACC(1962) FRCP Edin(1968) FRCP(1977)

Ivan Joseph Pinto was formerly the chief of cardiology at the Seth G S Medical College and at the K E M Hospital, Mumbai, India. He began his medical studies at Bombay, qualifying in 1949. He received his MD degree from Bombay University in 1951.

He spent the next few years in the USA and then in the UK. In Chicago, Pinto completed a cardiology fellowship at the Columbia Michael Reese Hospital with Pick and Langendorf. The original work of these two pioneers greatly influenced Pinto’s future research interests; Pinto developed an expertise in electrocardiography, coronary risk factors and in arrhythmias. In Bombay, he was considered a local guru on these topics.

In the UK, Pinto completed a post at the Hammersmith Hospital and passed the membership examinations of the Edinburgh and London Colleges in 1955. Upon returning to Bombay in 1956, Pinto was appointed as an honorary associate professor of medicine at the Seth G S Medical College and K E M Hospital. Cardiology at this institution was in its ascendancy, boosted by the achievements of Vakil and Datey, who established its eminence on the national and international scene. Datey and Pinto were the prime organizers of the World Congress of Cardiology held in Delhi in 1966.

Pinto was president of the Cardiology Society of India in 1978, and a frequent participant of symposia, panel discussions and scientific programmes, not only in India, but also abroad. Pinto was appointed as a WHO consultant and Asian member of the International Society of Cardiology Council on atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease and occlusive vascular disease.

He was elected to the Fellowships of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and of London. He was appointed as a professor in 1972. He was the head of the department of cardiology at the K E M Hospital from 1980 to 1983.

A pioneer of pacemaker therapy in India, he started the first pacemaker bank in India for supplying pacemakers to the poor, with donations from abroad. He organized a conference on the subject in Bombay in 1983.

Pinto often said that cardiac research was easy at advanced Western centres, where plenty of money, equipment and efficient technical help were available. He felt that research had most merit when done in countries such as India, where funds and facilities were always in short supply. These sentiments apply, of course, to Pinto himself and his research efforts.

His interesting conversations, especially on the dynamics of medical politics, his amiability and his close involvement with all his students, persist in the fond memories of the numerous doctors whose mentor he was at one time.

Ivan D’Cruz

(Volume XI, page 457)

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