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Dr. Robert Rushmer; Bioengineer Developed Ultrasound Devices

July 19, 2001

Dr. Robert F. Rushmer, 86, founding director of the University of Washington Center for Bioengineering, who developed ultrasound and other techniques to monitor heart health, died Friday in Redmond, Wash., a suburb of Seattle.

Born into a medical family in Ogden, Utah, Rushmer earned his degrees at the University of Chicago and Rush Medical College there. After completing his residency in pediatrics and aviation medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Rushmer conducted biomedical research for the Army Air Corps during World War II.

He joined the University of Washington faculty in 1947, teaching physiology and biophysics. Twenty years later, he founded the pioneering Department of Bioengineering and led it in developing painless monitoring devices, including ultrasound, to observe developing fetuses and ailing hearts. He also pioneered control systems for artificial hearts and extensive use of computers in medicine.

Rushmer, the author of several medical books, retired in 1986.

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