Biographical Notes on WFSA Presidents

  • J. S. M. Zorab


Harold Randall Griffith was born in Montreal and graduated from McGill University in 1922. Although he had no university affiliation, Griffith soon became an internationally respected leader. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame should be ascribed to the fact that he, together with Enid Johnson, on 23 January 1942, was the first to use curare to produce muscle relaxation, thereby revolutionising the practice of general anaesthesia. It was almost 10 years later when, stimulated by the activities of Francis Hoeffer McMechan, Griffith started to become involved in the preliminary meetings that subsequently led to the foundation of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) on 9 September 1955, on which occasion he was elected the first President. At the 2nd World Congress in Toronto in 1960, he decided that the time had come to retire from office and also from the Executive Committee and withdrew his name from nomination. He was, however, given the formal title of Founding President which, he noted, “confers the privilege of continuing to take part in the activities of the Federation and is one which I value as a very high honour indeed”. His successors also decided that some permanent recognition of his contribution was appropriate and, in the late 1980s, the Executive Committee agreed that the scientific programme of each WFSA World Congress should include a “Harold Griffith Symposium”.


Executive Committee World Federation Biographical Note Netherlands Society Respected Leader 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2004

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  • J. S. M. Zorab

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