C. Miller Fisher, MD, founder of the MGH Stroke Service and widely regarded as the father of stroke neurology, died April 14 at the age of 98. During his 50 years at the MGH, he defined nearly all the principles that underlie current understanding of cerebrovascular disease.
“He was an icon in the field of neurology, and he defined stroke care,” says Anne Young, MD, PhD, chief of the Department of Neurology. “The way he cared for his patients was exemplary, and he taught many generations of neurologists excellence in patient care and observation.”
Fisher dedicated his research to understanding carotid artery disease, which led to the discovery that aspirin could prevent stroke by warding off the formation of blood clots. This major milestone was followed by several other breakthroughs, including the introduction of the term transient ischemic attack, or TIA – when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a limited period of time causing stroke-like symptoms – a warning sign that a true stroke may occur in the future.
During his lengthy career, Fisher was honored with several accolades, including being inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Last year, an endowed chair at the MGH was also created in his name.
Fisher is survived by his three children and four grandchildren. His wife Doris preceded him in death. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held in Boston this fall.
Read more articles from the 4/20/12 Hotline issue.