Dr Ilan Timor-Tritsch grew up in Romania, emigrated to Israel, where he began his career in medicine, and then, almost three decades ago, moved to Cleveland, Ohio to join an extremely productive team under the direction of Mort Rosen, his good friend and mentor.
Dr Timor-Tritsch's original research was in fetal behavior. He wrote some of the original articles on the use of fetal heart rate monitoring to indirectly characterize various fetal sleep states. It was during these years in Cleveland that he developed a keen interest in real-time ultrasound, initially as a tool to assess fetal status, but later as a vehicle for prenatal diagnosis.
Although I am only touching the tip of the iceberg of his productivity, Dr Timor-Tritsch is best known for his work with transvaginal sonography in chronicling normal and abnormal embryonic development. He also pioneered this technique to identify anomalies before they could be adequately visualized with transabdominal ultrasound. Working in parallel with the Trondheim group, Dr Timor-Tritsch demonstrated the capability of ultrasound in the study of fetal brain development and in the diagnosis, sometimes through transvaginal ultrasound, of a variety of fetal intracranial abnormalities. Adding to the list of accomplishments, he is one of the leaders in utilizing ultrasound adjunctively in invasive procedures, particularly in multiple gestations. Speaking of multiple gestations, he and his colleague, Ana Monteagudo, have authored a book on twins that I often still grab off the shelf to answer an occasional diagnostic question.
Dr Timor-Tritsch in life, as well as in ultrasound, is a Renaissance man. While growing up in Eastern Europe, he became a skillful tennis player of significant repute. He also became an impressively accomplished skier. Utilizing the same perseverance that embodied his professional career, not long ago he completed the New York marathon in very reasonable time—quite a feat for someone of his age. For me, walking that distance would be a triumph.
Finally, after accomplishing far more goals than anyone can expect from one individual, Dr Timor-Tritsch remains constantly ‘switched on’. If anything, his enthusiasm for something new is more fervent than ever before. This energy is almost palpable in his consistently enlightening and entertaining presentations.
Dr Timor-Tritsch is a remarkable individual who has contributed tremendously to our specialty, and I am honored to be his friend. I can think of no other individual more deserving of this accolade.
Excerpted from a speech by Dr. John C. Hobbins at the presentation of the ISUOG Ian Donald Gold Medal in 2002
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