Evgeny Chazov, Academician of Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS,) Director Emeritus of Scientific Research Center of Cardiology and former Minister of Health of the USSR, passed away at the age of 93 on November 12 in Moscow, said the press service of the Health Ministry of the Russian Federation.
“It is no exaggeration to say about Evgeny Chazov that he saved millions of lives. He was an outstanding cardiologist and scientist,” says the message of the Ministry of Health. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Health Minister Mikhail Murashko expressed their condolences for the death of academician Chazov.
Member of the Federation Council Galina Karelina also expressed her condolences saying that “this bitter news hurts the heart of everyone” who knows about the tremendous contribution of the eminent cardiologist Chazov in saving people's lives. His colleagues and students all over Russia and abroad, from Helsinki and Stockholm, Boston and Bishkek, from different clinics and ordinary doctors, sent condolences to his family and friends.
Evgeny Chazov's name was widely known for several generations in Russia. He was the Chief of the Fourth Directorate of the Soviet Ministry of Health which took care of Soviet leaders from 1967 to 1986. Not only the Soviet leadership and prominent figures of science and culture were treated there but also heads of several foreign countries, in particular, Egyptian President Abdel Nasser. Evgeny Chazov was the personal physician of Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the governing Communist Party, for 15 years. In addition, he treated Yuri Andropov and Mikhail Gorbachev, USSR Marshal Georgy Zhukov, writer Konstantin Simonov, and academicians Mikhail Yangel and Mstislav Keldysh were also his patients.
Evgeny Chazov was born on June 10, 1929, in Nizhny Novgorod. His mother worked as a general practitioner. As a child, Evgeny often visited rural hospitals. He well remembered the corridors that smelled ether and carbolic fumes. The image of his mother walking through the streets of the district center, where she was the only doctor, and everyone bowed to her, was etched in his memory. Doctors’ job was very hard in those years but also romantic. “Maybe that is why I chose this profession,” Chazov said in one of his interviews.
He did not try to move up the career ladder and hold senior positions but life pushed him to them. Chazov ran the USSR Health Ministry, then spoke about the results of his work at a meeting of the Supreme Soviet and was offered to continue working in that position but quit at his request due to lack of funding for the ministry.
It was Chazov who ordered the establishment of AIDS treatment centers in the USSR in 1989. It was then that the system of medical care in extreme conditions was created.
Academician Chazov invented thrombolytic therapy. His developments in the treatment of heart attacks were widely used not only in our country but also in the United States and European countries. He took a risk and made himself an injection of the then-experimental fibrinolysin which then was successfully used in the treatment of thrombosis and heart attacks. There are known examples of doctors doing experiments on themselves but according to TASS, this was the only case last century. “This example went down even into the American textbooks on medicine,” said RAS academician Alexander Chuchalin who worked with Evgeny Chazov for decades.
Fibrinolysin was not officially recognized immediately although Evgeny Chazov was mostly awarded the Lenin Prize for thrombolytic therapy in 1982. Moreover, Marshal Zhukov was the first famous patient who got an injection of fibrinolysin. In the meantime, there were great doubts concerning the introduction of this preparation exactly into the brain vessels, though since 1961 it was used for infections and thrombosis in the lungs, as well as in the leg vessels. However, as Yevgeny Chazov later recalled, Marshal Zhukov, who had suffered a stroke and was in a coma, soon began to move his previously paralyzed arm and then has a snapback.
Not only top managers but also wealthy people go to other countries for treatment. “I find that very disappointing,” his daughter Irina Chazova who runs the Institute of Clinical Cardiology n.a. A.Myasnikov, told TASS in an interview. “At the time when my father was in charge of the Kremlin hospital, people came there for treatment not only from socialist countries but from capitalist countries as well.”
It was Evgeny Chazov and Bernard Laun (USA) who initiated the creation of the international movement ‘International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).’ Evgeny Chazov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this meticulous and fruitful work in 1985.
Chazov was first elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS USSR.) He became an academician of the AMS USSR in the 1970s, and then became a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He is the author of more than 450 scientific works.
Evgeny Chazov was awarded many titles and awards for his work, including four orders of Lenin during the Soviet Union. In 1978, he became a Hero of Socialist Labor. Evgeny Chazov is a Knight of the Order for Merit to the Fatherland of First, Second, Third, and Fourth Degrees. Academician Chazov's foreign awards include the Order of Academic Palms (France).
Academician Evgeny Chazov's contribution to the treatment of cardiac diseases is valued worldwide. He was an honorary doctor of the University of Jena (Germany), the Medical Faculty of Belgrade (Yugoslavia), Krakow University (Poland), Queen's University (Canada), and Charles University (Czech Republic).
Chazov was called the “Russian Hippocrates.” Millions of people recovered their health thanks to the treatment methods developed by him. Evgeny Chazov was a very talented doctor, an excellent teacher, and a skilled organizer and leader, who devoted his life to serving people. He felt civic responsibility for everything that was going on in the country.