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Peter Safar, MD
|Born||12 April 1924|
|Died||2 August 2003|
|Alma mater||University of Vienna|
|Known for||cardiopulmonary resuscitation|
Safar was born in Vienna in 1924 into a medical family. His father was an ophthalmologist and his mother, who had a Jewish grandmother, was a pediatrician. He graduated from the University of Vienna in 1948. He married Eva Kyzivat and moved from Vienna to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1949 for surgical training at Yale University. He completed training in anesthesiology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. That same year, he worked in Lima, Peru, and founded that country's first academic anesthesiology department. In 1954, he became Chief of Anesthesiology at Baltimore City Hospital.
Together with James Elam, he rediscovered the airway, head tilt, chin lift (Step A) and the mouth-to-mouth breathing (Step B) components of CPR and influenced Norwegian doll maker Asmund Laerdal of Laerdal company to design and manufacture mannequins for CPR training called Resusci Anne. Safar, who began to work on cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in 1956 at Baltimore City Hospital, demonstrated in a series of experiments on paralyzed human volunteers that rescuer exhaled air mouth-to-mouth breathing could maintain satisfactory oxygen levels in the non-breathing victim, and showed that even lay people could effectively perform mouth-to-mouth breathing to save lives. He combined the A (Airway) and the B (Breathing) of CPR with the C (chest compressions), and wrote the book ABC of Resuscitation in 1957, which established the basis for mass training of CPR. This A-B-C system for CPR training of the public was later adopted by the American Heart Association, which promulgated standards for CPR in 1973.
Safar's other achievements included the establishment of the United States' first intensive-care unit in 1958, at Baltimore City Hospital. In 1961, he went to the University of Pittsburgh, where he established its notable academic anesthesiology department and the world's first intensive-care medicine training program. In 1966, he was deeply moved by the death of his daughter, Elizabeth, at the age of 12 from an acute asthmatic crisis. He initiated the Freedom House Enterprise Ambulance Service, one of the first prehospital emergency medical services in the United States in 1967 and together with Nancy Caroline M.D. developed standards for emergency medical technician (EMT) education and training, as well as standards for mobile intensive-care ambulance design and equipment. Freedom House Ambulance service employed young African Americans who were deemed "unemployable". Several members of Freedom House went on to establish successful careers in EMS and public safety.
In 1976, Safar co-founded the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM), which is dedicated to saving lives in major disasters. He stepped down from the chairmanship of anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh and founded the International Resuscitation Research Center (now the University of Pittsburgh Safar Center for Resuscitation Research) in 1979, dedicated to cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation (CPCR).
With Nicholas Bircher he published a textbook on CPCR that became the international standard. In March 1989 he assembled an interdisciplinary team of researchers – composed of the following individuals: Drs Miroslav Klain (Anesthesiologist), Edmund Ricci, Ph. D. (Evaluation research), Ernesto A. Pretto, Jr. (Anesthesiologist), Joel Abrams Ph.D. (Engineering), and Louise Comfort, Ph. D. (Social Science) – which became known as the University of Pittsburgh Disaster Reanimatology Study Group (DRSG). This research team in partnership with a team of Russian and Armenian physicians conducted the first international interdisciplinary disaster evaluation research field survey study of the earthquake in Armenia. The Armenia study led to a series of post-disaster field studies by the DRSG in Costa Rica (1991), Turkey (1993), and Japan (1994). These studies helped to establish the "Golden 24 Hours" of emergency response in disasters and inspired Norwegian Anesthesiologist and humanitarian Dr. Knut Ole Sundnes to establish in 1995 the Task Force of Quality Control of Disaster Management (TFQCDM), under the auspices of the Nordic Society of Disaster Medicine and WADEM.
Safar practiced and taught clinical anesthesiology at Presbyterian University Hospital in Pittsburgh until the age of 65, but continued his research activities until his death. His lifelong goal was to "save the hearts and brains of those too young to die", and to improve the life-saving potential in disasters, a field he called "Disaster Reanimatology". In 1990 he appointed Dr Ernesto Pretto as leader of the Disaster program.
In 1999, Safar was awarded the Cross of Honor, Austria’s highest civilian honor, for his services in the field of medicine. He was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Medicine. On 13 September 2014, the Alliance of Germanic Societies of Pittsburgh honored him, as well.
- Wright, Pearce (13 August 2003), "Peter Safar: Surgical pioneer of emergency life-saving methods", The Guardian.
- Petechuk, David (October 1999). "Time of death: Postponed". PittMed (University of Pitsburgh School of Medicine Magazine). 1 (1): 22.
- Srikameswaran, Anita (21 March 2002). "Dr. Peter Safar: A life devoted to cheating death". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- Staresinic, Chuck (February 2004). "Send Freedom House!" (PDF). PittMed. 6 (1): 32–34.
- Karns, Jameson (15 October 2015). "Paramedics of Freedom House: Empowerment Through Paramedicine". EMS World.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2015. "Dr. Peter Safar (1924–2003) was the very special honoree for his year. He was introduced by Robert Tate, President of the Austrian Society of Pittsburgh who lauded this Viennese born and educated Doctor for his life’s achievements in medicine. Dr. Safar has been honored world-wide for improvements in medical practice and advances in medical science. His achievements were wide ranging from the development of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and as a founder of the nation’s first medical/surgical intensive care unit. Dr. Safar was chairman of the Anesthesiology Department, where he held the title of Distinguished Professor. In 1999, he was awarded the 'Cross of Honor', Austria’s highest civilian honor for his services in the field of medicine."
- Srikameswaran, Anita (5 August 2003), "Obituary: Dr. Peter Safar / Renowned Pitt physician called 'father of CPR'", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- "Dear Friends and Colleagues" (Press release). Safar Center for Resuscitation Research. 4 August 2003. Archived from the original on 8 October 2003. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- Pretto, E. A.; P. Safar (1991). "National medical response to mass disasters in the United States. Are we prepared?". JAMA. 266 (9): 1259–62. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470090093038. PMID 1870252.
- Acierno, L. J.; L. T. Worrell (January 2007). "Peter Safar: father of modern cardiopulmonary resuscitation". Clinical Cardiology. 30 (1): 52–4. doi:10.1002/clc.20042. ISSN 0160-9289. PMID 17262769.
- Gunn, SW (March 2005). "The humanitarian imperative in disaster management--a memorial tribute to Professor Peter Safar". Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. 20 (2): 89–92. ISSN 1049-023X. PMID 15898486.
- Weil, Max Harry; William C. Shoemaker (February 2004). "Pioneering contributions of Peter Safar to intensive care and the founding of the Society of Critical Care Medicine". Critical Care Medicine. 32 (2 Suppl): S8–10. doi:10.1097/01.CCM.0000110742.81376.FA. ISSN 0090-3493. PMID 15043226.
- Behringer, Wilhelm (February 2004). "Peter Safar — 'Vater der Wiederbelebung'" [Peter Safar--'father of resuscitation']. Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift (in German). 116 (3): 102–06. doi:10.1007/BF03040705. ISSN 0043-5325. PMID 15008320.
- Mosesso, V. N. Jr; P. M. Paris (January 2004). "A tribute to Peter Safar, MD: Physician, researcher, mentor, visionary, humanist". Prehospital Emergency Care. 8 (1): 76–9. ISSN 1090-3127. PMID 14691793.
- Martens, Patrick; Arsene Mullie (December 2003). "(Some of the) lessons learned from Peter Safar". European Journal of Emergency Medicine. 10 (4): 257. doi:10.1097/00063110-200312000-00002. ISSN 0969-9546. PMID 14676499.
- Crippen, D. (August 2003). "A eulogy: personal reflections on Dr. Peter Safar". MedGenMed. 5 (3): 27. PMID 14600663.
- Stoy, W; J. T. Grandey (October 2003). "Teacher, clinician ... Friend. Tributes to Peter Safar". JEMS. 28 (10): 20–04. ISSN 0197-2510. PMID 14583698.
- Arnold, Jeffrey L.; Francesco Della Corte (September 2003). "International emergency medicine: recent trends and future challenges". European Journal of Emergency Medicine. 10 (3): 180–88. doi:10.1097/00063110-200309000-00005. ISSN 0969-9546. PMID 12972892.
- Lenzer, Jeanne (2003). "Peter Josef Safar". BMJ. 327 (7415): 624. doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7415.624. PMC 194106.
- Mitka, Mike (May 2003). "Peter J. Safar, MD: 'father of CPR,' innovator, teacher, humanist" (PDF). JAMA. 289 (19): 2485–6. doi:10.1001/jama.289.19.2485. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 12759308. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2008.