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B. Raymond Fink Memorial Research Conference
In Memoriam: Dr. B. Raymond Fink


Bernard Raymond Fink, M.D. Bause G. ASA Newsl. 2000; 64(12)

Bernard Raymond Fink, M.D., F.F.A.R.C.S. (1914 — 2000)

George S. Bause, M.D.
Honorary Curator, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology

Born May 25, 1914, in London, England, Bernard Raymond Fink, M.D., was raised in Antwerp, Belgium. By age 22, Dr. Fink had earned degrees in physiology, medicine and surgery at the University of London. From 1939-49, he completed medical training and service in South Africa. Following a few months as a Cornell University researcher, Dr. Fink finished anesthesiology residency at New York's Beth Israel Hospital by 1952. Leaving Columbia University after 12 years as Associate Professor, he arrived as Professor to the University of Washington in 1964.

Ray Fink, M.D., was the voice of originality. A charter member of the International Association for the Study of Pain and the Anesthesia History Association, Dr. Fink served as secretary of the former and as president of the latter. His Fink valve permitted practical controlled ventilation with a nonrebreathing circuit. He designed clever vallecular extensions to the Macintosh blade, Connell airway and Waters airway, resulting in, respectively, the Fink blade and the regular and nippled versions of the Fink airway.He penned more than 120 original articles that explored diffusion anoxia, medical history, pain, respiratory regulation, electromyography, anesthetic toxicity, cell metabolism, local anesthetics and nerve conduction. ASA bestowed its Excellence in Research Award upon Dr. Fink in 1987.

A voice with many tongues, Dr. Fink lectured in seven languages to 17 nations on five continents. His language facility proved an asset during his years editing submissions to Anesthesiology, Anesthesiology Review, Pain, Regional Anesthesia and the Wood Library-Museum. His translations of Claude Barnard and Pirogoff won him David Little Best Book Prizes in 1990 and 1993.

Dr. Fink was the voice of the voice itself. His masterwork, The Human Larynx: A Functional Study, sold out in 1975. Co-authored with R.J. Demarest, Laryngeal Biomechanics soon followed, earning the 1978-79 Best Book Award of the Anesthesia Foundation. An invited speaker to the American Laryngological Association and the International Primatological Society, he wrote dozens of papers on the larynx. For years he pursued evidence that the larynx and speech were determinants in the evolution of man and of primates.

Finally, Dr. Fink was the voice of valor. At South Africa's Moroka Methodist Mission from 1947-49, he preached against apartheid. In 1989, he warned against researchers' use of Nazi data, reminding them that the suffering of prisoners experimented on without their fully informed consent should be in vain. His courageous voice and diligence were saluted by Distinguished Service Awards from the American Society of Regional Anesthesia, the American Pain Society and ASA. On October 30, 2000, Bernard Raymond Fink, M.D., succumbed to renal failure. Many will miss Ray's heroic voice. Humankind will hear his echo for decades to come.

Selected Publications of B. Raymond Fink

Research Papers (129 total):

  • The Etiology and Treatment of Laryngeal Spasm,
    Anesthesiology 17:569-577, 1956.
  • Electromyography in General Anesthesiology,
    Brit J Anaesth 33:555-559, 1961.
  • Indirect Monitor of Blood Pressure,
    Anesth Analg 49:204-209, 1971.
  • Paradoxical Preservation of Neural Conduction by Lidocaine,
    Anesthesiology 57:167-171, 1982.
  • 2020 Glimpses through the Anesthesia Retroprospectroscope,
    Western J Med 144:369-372, 1986.
  • Mechanisms of Differential Axial Blockade in Epidural and Subarachnoid Anesthesia,
    Anesthesiology 70:851-858, 1989.
  • Toward the mathematization of Spinal Anesthesia,
    Reg Anesth 17:263-273, 1992.
  • What's New in Anesthesiology,
    ASA Newsletter 63:127, 1999.

Books, edited books and book chapters (32 total):

  • Fink BR and Demarest RJ: Laryngeal Biomechanics,
    Harvard Univ Press, Cambridge, 1978.
  • Fink BR: Bioenergetic Foundations of Consciousness, Toward a Scientific Basis for Consciousness, Ed. Hameroff SR, Kaszniak AW, Scott AC. MIT Press, Cambridge, 1994.
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Anesthesia, vols 1, 2.
    New York, Raven press, 1975, 1980.
  • Careers in Anesthesiology,
    Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, 1997-99.