Donat Spahn | Professor and Chairman of the Institute of Anaesthesiology at the University and University Hospital Zurich
It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Prof Dr Thomas Pasch on 20 June, shortly after our 10th Anniversary celebrations in Berlin. Prof Pasch was interim President of the European Society of Anaesthesiology in 2005 and was instrumental in the amalgamation of the three European anaesthesiology societies that lead to the successful creation of the ESA.
Thomas Pasch was born in Eisenberg in the former East Germany on 1 March 1941. His family fled to West Germany 7 April 1953 and he finished his high school education in Osnabrück. In 1961, Thomas Pasch began his medical studiesat the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg and where he started his research career in the Department of Physiology. After only 5 years he received of the “Privatdozent” degree in 1974. The main topic of his research in physiology was haemodynamics of the arterial limb.
Later, he switched his focus to clinical medicine at the Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg and became Board certified in Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine in 1978, being nominated Associate Professor of Anaesthesiology in 1980. His research during this period focused on hemodynamic monitoring and controlled hypotension.
In 1987 Thomas Pasch became Professor and Chairman of the Institute of Anaesthesiology at the University and University Hospital of Zürich. He held this position until his retirement in 2006. Under his leadership, the Institute of Anaesthesiology grew tremendously to nearly double its original size. He was dedicated to mentoring and supporting numerous young researchers and their research groups in many different fields such as hemodynamic monitoring, haemodilution, pulmonary mechanics, stress prevention, inflammation, preconditioning, artificial oxygen carriers and blood coagulation. It was always a privilege to discuss research developments with him and to benefit from his profound knowledge in physiology and anaesthesiology. Many of us may attribute the success of our academic and professional careers to Prof Pasch’s support. As well as being very involved in research, he was also committed to pre- and post-graduate education and training.
For many years, Thomas Pasch was member of Editorial Boards of important anaesthesiological journals such as “Anästhesiologie, Intensivmedizin, Notfallmedizin, Schmerztherapie” and “Der Anästhesist”.
Thomas Pasch held multiple important positions in a variety of national and international professional societies. To mention only a few, he was the President of the Swiss Society of Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation, of the European Academy of Anaesthesiology and later of the European Society of Anaesthesiology. In particular, he was involved to a great extent in the merger and consolidation of theEuropean anaesthesiology societies in 2005. In honour of his important contributions, he was made Honorary Member of the the European Society of Anaesthesiology and of the Swiss Society of Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation. Prof Pasch was also elected Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists.
After retiring from the University of Zürich and University Hospital of Zürich he moved back to his former university in Erlangen-Nürnberg, where he held a Senior Professorship for Academic Affairs. This position enabled him to enjoy the opportunity to continue mentoring young researchers – one of his favourite functions – until a few months before his death.
With the passing of Thomas Pasch the anaesthesia world is losing one of its great and highly empathic mentors.
Written on behalf of the ESA by Donat Spahn, Professor and Chairman of the University and University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland.