Remembering Dr Geoffrey Mews

December 11, 2015

Written by Dr Richard Clugston
Selection for entrance to Medical School has never tested manual dexterity, the capacity to innovate nor aptitude for procedural work.  If it had, Dr Geoffrey Mews would have eclipsed any examination measure of candidacy.  As it was he was accepted on academic merit.  His powerful intellect, constant curiosity and extraordinary manual dexterity served him well as he went on to become a National and International Pioneer of Interventional Cardiology. 
Geoffrey trained initially at Royal Perth Hospital and then in Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.  Recognising the multiple talents of this prematurely grey and constantly curious young Doctor he was invited to train in cardiothoracic surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  Dr Mews, however, returned to Perth where he was initially appointed Consultant Intensivist, RPH, at the age of 29.  In collaboration with his colleagues Drs Geoffrey Cope and Neil Cumpston, Geoffrey went on to become one of the pioneers of coronary intervention, initially treating acute myocardial infarction with intracoronary thrombolysis.  This took place in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when coronary angiography, during acute myocardial infarction, was considered both adventurous and dangerous.  Shortly after coronary angioplasty was described (1977), a PCI program commenced at RPH and not long after this Dr Mews along with his later partner in private practice, Dr Geoffrey Cope, performed the first coronary stent procedure to take place in the Southern Hemisphere, at RPH.  It was only a few years later that Dr Mews enthusiastically embraced Australia’s first, and one of the world’s very first programs for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction using angioplasty and subsequently stenting, again at RPH. 
In the early days of coronary intervention a great deal of teaching, both nationally and internationally, was undertaken by “live case demonstration”, in latter years using satellite transmission.  Dr Mews was highly sought after as a Demonstrator, Teacher and international key opinion leader.
In conjunction with Dr Richard Fox he developed a method of delivering intra-coronary radiation using Rhenium which received international recognition. 
Dr Mews was a sometimes reluctant one time Head of Department who studiously avoided administrative meetings.  He was a strong patient advocate and his patients reciprocated with unswerving loyalty.  He was a Teacher and Mentor to many and launched many careers in Australian Interventional Cardiology. 
Dr Mews set a high bar for procedural standards in interventional cardiology, and that many aspired to achieve this level of competence is perhaps his greatest legacy. 
In his spare time he flew small aeroplanes, drove fast cars and motorbikes, sailed large boats and was forever fixing things on his ever busy farm.  No one can recall ever seeing Dr Mews sitting still.  
He is survived by his wife Yvonne and family.
Royal Perth Hospital would like to express our thoughts and condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr Geoffrey Mews at this time.