Obituaries

Herbert L Abrams

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1206 (Published 01 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1206
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. Hamburg

Cardiovascular radiologist and co-founder of Nobel peace prize winning group International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Linda A Cicero/Stanford News Service

By the late 1950s Herbert Abrams was rising quickly in the specialism of cardiovascular radiology, and he would eventually be named director of diagnostic radiology. In 1961 he published Angiography, the first comprehensive volume on the medical imaging technique that, 55 years later, is still available in its fourth edition under the title Abrams’ Angiography: Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

But although Abrams was focused on medicine at that early stage of his career, he also kept a wary eye on the geopolitical tensions between the US and the Soviet Union. He was especially worried about the potentially devastating health effects of a nuclear war. “In the early 1960s, a lot of us were concerned about (nuclear bomb) testing in the atmosphere,” Abrams recalled decades later.1 “Radiologists had to be concerned about that.”

In 1963 the US, the Soviet Union, and the UK signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which banned testing in outer space, under water, and in the atmosphere. Abrams breathed a sigh of relief and focused again on his medical duties. “I was, frankly, fully involved,” he said, “running a department of radiology, participating in the activities of a medical …

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