The British Heart Foundation today paid tribute to its former Medical Director, Professor Brian Pentecost, who sadly died at the age of 80 on Wednesday 15 January.
Professor Pentecost was our Medical Director from 1993-1999 following retirement from his post as Consultant Physician for South Birmingham Health Authority and Honorary Professor of Medicine at Birmingham University.
Our current Medical Director, Professor Peter Weissberg, first met Professor Pentecost in the 1970s when he was a medical student. He later trained under Professor Pentecost as a Senior Registrar and Lecturer in Cardiology before being appointed as BHF Chair while Professor Pentecost was Medical Director.
Professor Weissberg said: “I first met Brian in the 1970s when I was a medical student at Birmingham University. He was a towering figure in Birmingham medicine and we medical students were in awe of him – not least because he had a gold plated stethoscope! Yet, in an era when consultants could be lofty, unapproachable tyrants, Brian’s gentle, friendly, yet authoritative manner made him a hugely popular teacher. He was a role model to me and a generation of cardiologists.”
Throughout his career Brian played a leading role in British Cardiology and, indeed, British medicine through prominent roles in the Royal College of Physicians. Brian and the then Director General of the BHF, Major General Leslie Busk, made a formidable team that was largely responsible for developing the BHF into the dominant force it is today. When interviewed at the time he was appointed to the medical directorship of the BHF he said his epitaph should read ‘I gave it my best shot’. He certainly did and his aim was perfect.
"Brian will be remembered by his colleagues and those he trained for his unique blend of authoritative leadership, humour and warmth of personality that gained him universal respect.”