Father's legacy is one of the heart

February 06, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Recent newspaper articles about strides in the treatment of heart disease and prevention of heart attacks reawakened Hagerstown resident William G. Gregg's memories of his father, a physician recognized worldwide for making many of those advances.

While Dr. Donald Eaton Gregg died 17 years ago, his son said his years of research paved the way for improvements in today's surgical techniques to reverse the effects of heart disease.

Among William Gregg's treasured mementos of his father is a picture of Dr. Gregg standing outside the White House with President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

At that occasion, Gregg received the Distinguished Federal Civilian Service award.

Also honored at that ceremony were former USSR ambassador Llewellyn Thompson and astronaut John Glenn, among others.

Gregg then was the chief of the Department of Cardio-Respiratory Diseases at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, according to his son.


Before Gregg's death in 1983, he often came to Frederick, Md., and other points farther west to visit his son and family.

Now William Gregg not only has his mementos of his father's famous life, but he has the satisfaction of knowing many people today are continuing to benefit from his father's work.

A research physiologist, Gregg was the author of several works that furthered the science of cardiology.

In the 1970s, he was a nominee for the Nobel Prize in medicine for his work in physiology.

In addition to his pioneering of surgical techniques, Gregg was also responsible for many of the instruments still used today, his son said.

Among those accomplishments were the Gregg manometer for measuring blood pressure, the introduction of the rotameter for measuring blood flow, and the use of the densitometer for determining cardiac output and coronary flow by means of dye injection.

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