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The late Prof. Morrow,1935 - 2022, widely regarded as one of the finest surgeons and educators in gynaecological oncology, authored two definitive textbooks, including "Morrow’s Gynecologic Cancer Surgery", which set the standards for surgical procedures in the subspecialty.
Prof. Morrow played a crucial role in the early development of the Gynaecological Oncology Group, which succeeded in advancing the field to unprecedented heights.
Watch the Video from Prof. Luis Chiva, ESGO Education Committee Chair and ESGO eAcademy Editor-in-Chief and read more about Prof. Morrow's impactful career from his colleagues Prof. Edgardo Yordan, USA, published Online First on May 5, 2022, in the International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer and below from Prof. Matias Jurado, Spain, released on May 6, 2022.
With a heavy heart, I write this, as someone who has known Dr. C Paul Morrow, since we first met back in 1987.
Dr. Edgardo L. Yordan, Professor Emeritus GYN Oncology, Rush Medical College, Chicago, USA, a faithful disciple of his, and my mentor at the time, introduced us. Since then, only God knows how my admiration, respect, gratitude, and affection for him have continued to grow. There are many anecdotes and lessons, some of them truly unforgettable, that we shared during that time, and which remain in my heart as an authentic story of simple and warm friendship.
I was fortunate enough to learn from his brilliance, and I also benefited from his wit, human wisdom, integrity, humility, and ability to align his work with the ideals of his Christian faith.
The late Dr. C Paul Morrow, August 25, 1935 - March 17, 2022, was a founding member of the Gynecologic Oncology Division at the University of Southern California, where he dedicated his life to caring for women across the socioeconomic spectrum, including those uninsured of the Los Angeles population, serving as division director for close to 30 years.
Additionally, he played a crucial role in the early development of the Gynecologic Oncology Group back in the mid-1960s. He was among the founding members of this new subspecialty, which eventually advanced the field to unprecedented heights. He served as the Chief of Staff at the Norris Cancer Center, SGO president and was the founding member and first president of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society.
He built friendships with international experts throughout his career and travelled widely to learn new techniques, which he would then bring back to the United States. Though he was best known for his exceptional surgical skill (https://scmedicalpublishing.com/), he had a vast deposit of medical knowledge, as well as a deep understanding of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and his goal was always to maximize their use to provide the best possible results for his patients.
During the Presidential Address at the SGO meeting in 1991, Dr. Morrow gave a lecture entitled: "Who Are We?" A Paean to Gynecologic Oncology (Gynecologic Oncology 1991, 42: 111-113).
I would like to end my testimony by sharing some remarkable insights from this lecture, which I had the privilege of being present at, showcasing his many human virtues and personal views as a Gynaecological Oncologist.
"My origins are rural, my talent modest, and I began my professional education with no greater ambition than to be a family doctor."
"I have had a good fortune, nevertheless, to be carried beyond my natural prospects by the many capable and talented people with whom I have trained and worked. Because of these individuals, I now stand before you as a measure of my success in academic gynecologic oncology."
"…we spend countless hours counselling women and their loved ones about dangerous illnesses and the remedies thereof; we anguish with our patients over tough decisions often involving uncertain benefits and risks; we grapple with the harshness of physical and psychological pain…; and we are confronted daily by the spectre of failure and death. In these and many other ways, we suffer tribulations and share the consolations of our patients and their families. We are favoured indeed to be engaged in
such important and personal human events…. We experience the ineffable joy that comes from saving lives. It is our boundless privilege not only to attend the sick but to serve and console the terminally ill".
"Gynecologic oncologists are and must remain first and foremost surgeons; this is our most indispensable characteristic; this is our hallmark, our pith, our substance, our paramount quality. We are not radiation therapists; we are not medical oncologists, nor are we pathologists, statisticians, or research scientists. It is true that we do need skill, even expert skill, and knowledge in some of these areas, and there is no doubt that years of education in an allied research field will ultimately upgrade the discipline of gynecologic oncology, but none of these things is as important as an incontestable competence in pelvic/abdominal surgery. Surgical proficiency and a deep understanding of the biology of gynecologic cancer must be recognized as the heart and soul of our speciality."
"…. our subspecialty will continue to flourish if we nurture it with generosity, prudence, humility, and wisdom, keeping in mind that cardinal dictum of medical practice to do always what is in the patient's best interest. . . Gynecologic oncology, this grand adventure, this magnificent profession, will thus remain an invaluable resource and a cherished boon to our women and our society."
I began this testimony by expressing my deep admiration, respect, gratitude, friendship, and affection for Dr. Morrow.
And I wish to finish by voicing my certainty that he will be missed but not forgotten, and that his memory will be cherished in the hearts of his friends, family, and colleagues.
Matias Jurado, MD
Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Navarra
May 6, 2022
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