Jack Pulec (1932-2003)
By Mirko Tos, The President, Politzer Society
Jack Pulec was my dear old friend, he was a great supporter of Politzer Society, one of the oldest members, the secretary of our society and co-organiser of a Politzer meeting in USA. Jack was an elegant ear surgeon and innovator, improving several surgical methods.We will miss Jack.
By Robert T. Sataloff, MD, DMA, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Published in ENT: Ear, Nose & Throat Journal, Jan2004, Vol. 83 Issue 1, p7, 1p and copied by the permission of the Publisher
All of us who knew Jack Pulec were shocked and saddened to learn of his sudden and unexpected death in December. Jack died in a skiing accident, living life to its fullest, as was his wont.
When I first became friendly with Jack Pulec, MD, in 1969, I was struck by his youth (even though he was 17 years older than I). When I saw him a few months ago, I had the same reaction. Few people in otolaryngology--or in any field--have been blessed with the perpetual youth, driving curiosity, and irrepressible enthusiasm that typified Jack Pulec. John Shea described him aptly as the "Don Quixote of otology, believing anything can be done," and remaining always "upbeat and friendly." Jack's enthusiasm and good heart earned him fast friends throughout the world; and all of us mourn his passing.
Jack Pulec made major contributions to otology and otolaryngology. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor's degree in 1955 and his Doctor of Medicine in 1957. After spending a year as a resident in obstetrics and gynecology in Nebraska, he pursued an otolaryngology residency at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in neurotology at the Los Angeles Foundation of Otology. He served on the faculty of several medical schools, culminating with his appointment in 2001 as clinical professor of otolaryngology and neurosurgery at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.
Among otologists, Jack Pulec was always acknowledged as an innovator, whether he was injecting eustachian tubes with Teflon, sectioning trigeminal nerves, or reconsidering surgery of the facial nerve. His insights were consistently fresh, bold, imaginative, and unusually insightful. His contributions to our field include more than 200 publications, many of which are definitive.
In addition to thriving as a clinician and clinical researcher, Jack found time to teach, bring his expertise to numerous committees and boards, serve on the board of governors of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, remain active in nearly all of our major societies, and participate in numerous activities outside medicine. He was an accomplished
mechanic and especially loved working on cars (and driving them fast, as anyone who has ridden with him will attest).
For the last 11 years and five months, Jack served as editor-in-chief of EAR, NOSE & THROAT JOURNAL. Throughout his tenure, all of us who read ENT JOURNAL benefited from his vision and indefatigable commitment. Almost single-handedly, Jack expanded the editorial board to include an exceptional group of experts from the United States and throughout the world; created "the Clinics"; recruited authors who had habitually preferred to publish in other otolaryngology journals; and, in many other ways, raised the standards and enhanced the quality of the publication, without losing its clinical relevance. Those of us who worked closely with him through the editorial board will miss him especially.
He was an innovative thinker, a dedicated educator, and an independently effective academic. He left an indelible mark on otolaryngology, both professionally and personally. He will be missed, but not forgotten; and his memory will provide a personal and professional standard of excellence to which future generations will aspire.