Dr. Morton Mower, a notable Jewish philanthropist and US cardiologist who helped design an automatic implantable defibrillator that has helped many cardiac patients live longer and healthier lives, died at the age of 89.
The Baltimore Sun said that Mower died of cancer two days before his funeral on Wednesday at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver. About a decade ago, the Maryland native relocated to Colorado.
In 1969, Mower and Dr. Michel Mirowski, both of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, started working on a tiny defibrillator that could be implanted into a patient.
The gadget would use an electric shock to restore a patient’s heartbeat to its normal rhythm if it was too fast or inefficient
In just a few months, the doctors developed a working model of an automated implantable cardioverter defibrillator. The device was not inserted into a human until 1980 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, according to the publication.
The device was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1985. The device’s patent was shared by both doctors, and the technology was sold to pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.
According to the newspaper, Mower later became director of medical research for the Eli Lilly division that developed the implantable cardioverter defibrillator.
Mower, a Frederick native, went to Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
He worked in Baltimore hospitals and served in the Army before joining Sinai’s Coronary Drug Project as a co-investigator in 1966.
In the 1970s and 1980s, he was the hospital’s chief or acting chief of cardiology for a number of years. In 2005, a medical office building at Sinai Hospital was dedicated after him.
He worked for various medical companies later in his career as a consultant or executive.
Mower was honored with numerous honors, including inclusion into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002. He was also active in a number of Jewish humanitarian organizations.
The Jewish National Fund of the United States recognized him for his fundraising efforts in Israel for water infrastructure, education, and community facilities.
Mower and his 57-year-old wife, Toby, had traveled to Israel just weeks before his death.
Mower is survived by his daughter, Robin Sara Mower of Denver, and three grandchildren, in addition to his wife and son.