It is with great sadness that I learned about the premature departure of a dear friend, with whom I learned a great deal, shared many ideas, and had great times together. Bob passed away on March 2, 2001, after a valiant fight against prostate cancer.
I first met Bob some 15 years ago when I attended an AAMI annual meeting. As I was from Brazil, I was invited to make a report on CE activities in my country. Bob was among the participants of this roundtable and made many incisive and productive remarks. Later I learned that he had traveled around the world trying to help CEs from developing countries grasp the principles and methods of equipment management.
Since that encounter, I became very fond of him because he was unpretentious and very straight forward. He was always ready to help and provide advise, never asking for anything in return. He went to many places and provided free consulting services. For what he had done, he became almost a household name in places like Mongolia and certain cities in China.
I had the privilege of taking Bob to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a CE conference after the World Congress in Rio in 1994. Originally Bob was not on the program and no one knew him there. Bob, in his usual humble way, suggested that he would simply conduct a troubleshooting workshop outside of the official program. At the end of the conference, I was not surprised to learn from my Brazilian colleagues that Bob's session was considered the best of the entire conference!
The last time we were together was in Cape Town, South Africa. There we shared a hotel room while we were teaching at the Advanced Clinical Engineering Workshop (ACEW). There we had a very heterogeneous group of trainees and it was difficult to transfer certain concepts to them. But all trainees liked Bob and he became the most popular faculty person of the entire team.
When I started to prepare for this year's ACEW in Brazil, my colleagues asked me to invite Bob. Unfortunately at that time Bob was already sick and had committed himself to do only a couple of international trips. My Brazilian friends were very unhappy that I could not bring Bob to them again.
I am sure Bob is finally enjoying the tranquility he richly deserves. While on earth he never stopped working or slowed down after his "retirement" started a few years ago. The rest of us now must carry his torch and try to help improve the management of health technology in this big planet. Hope he will not be disappointed in what we will do without his wisdom and guidance.A copy of a letter from the World Health Organization to Bob Morris' family is available here in pdf format.
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