A Gifted Teacher
Few in the medical world get to be a household name in their specialty. Some achieve it through an eponymous syndrome or the invention of a classic operational procedure. Mark Josephson’s name was known to throughout the world of cardiac electrophysiology, and through most of cardiology, because he was central to virtually all aspects of the modern investigation and management of cardiac arrhythmias from its beginning in the 1970s. Since those early days Mark Josephson’s name was on numerous classic scientific papers, conferences were incomplete without his presence, and any discussion on the mechanism of most arrhythmias had to encompass Mark’s contribution to our better understanding. A week spent with him in the hospital during his meetings and rounds was an education in a determination to be the best. Even a day spent at the courses where Mark held court was something of a rite of passage. Here one could glimpse his determination, an inquisitive mind backed up by huge experience and learning.
Asking colleagues their memories of Mark produced "gifted teacher" as the most common reply – of that there can be no doubt. His deductive skills, emphasising the importance of the ECG and using other information, especially intracardiac electrograms, to confirm these deductions was the cornerstone of much of his teaching. At times it was harsh, but it was never any more demanding of others than the demands he made of himself. Like all highly intelligent individuals he was never hide-bound by rules or received wisdom. Evidence and deductive reasoning were necessary to prove the point. Much of this extended to his life outside medicine. Playing golf with Mark was always an interesting and entertaining experience, where passion, determination and enthusiasm were not inhibited by a rule book!
All those involved in or affected by heart rhythm abnormalities whether clinical staff, patients or administrators owe Mark Josephson a huge debt of gratitude.