2004 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Dawkins, Tollison, Frazier, Browning, Bryan, Burton, Chaney, Clarke, Dearing, Gordon, Horhn, Jackson (15th), King, Kirby, Little, Mettetal, Michel, Morgan, Posey, Robertson, Ross, Thames

Senate Concurrent Resolution 507

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


     WHEREAS, Dr. Arthur C. Guyton, 83,  Professor Emeritus of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, died April 3, 2003, in an automobile accident; and

     WHEREAS, Dr. Guyton was chairman of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the Medical Center from 1955 until his retirement in 1989.  Considered one of the world's leading physiologists, he is recognized for three major discoveries of the cardiovascular system.  In the 1950's, he overturned the conventional wisdom that the heart controlled the amount of blood pumped or "cardiac output."  He demonstrated that the need of body tissues for oxygen determined cardiac output and called this concept the "permissive heart."  He also measured the pressure of the interstitial fluid between cells that makes up about one-sixth of the body, a pressure that no one had been able to measure.  These contributions were key to understanding clinical conditions such as congestive heart failure.  In 1966, an early computer model led to his theory of "infinite gain," which gave the kidney preeminence as the long-term regulator of blood pressure; and

     WHEREAS, in addition to his huge research contributions that clarified and defined the cardiovascular system, Dr. Guyton was the author of what is probably the best-selling medical textbook of all-time, the Textbook of Medical Physiology, now in its 10th edition and translated into 15 foreign languages.  It has been in print and in use in use for more than 45 years by students all over the world; and

     WHEREAS, acknowledging the book's influence on the education of physicians, the Association of American Medical Colleges honored Dr. Guyton with its 1996 Abraham Flexner Award in Medical Education; and

     WHEREAS, his successor as chairman of the department, Dr. John Hall, says Dr. Guyton has taught and been a mentor to more than 150 scientists and at least 27 who are now department chairs; and

     WHEREAS, Dr. Guyton was born in Oxford, Mississippi, the son of Dr. Billy S. and Kate Smallwood Guyton.  His father was an ophthalmologist and dean of the two-year medical school at the university from 1935 until 1944.  His mother, a mathematician and physics teacher, had been a missionary in China for five yeas before she married; and

     WHEREAS, he graduated at the top of his class from the University of Mississippi and entered Harvard Medical School in 1939.  His surgery internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston was interrupted by military service at Camp Detrick, Maryland.  After World War II, he went back to Massachusetts General to complete surgery training, but contracted polio in 1947; and

     WHEREAS, the disease left him with residual paralysis that he knew would prevent a career in surgery.  After a period of recovery in Warm Springs, Georgia, he came back to Oxford to begin a career in research.  He earned a presidential citation in 1956 for instruments and aids he designed for the handicapped after seeing the need for them at Warm Springs.  His first full-time teaching job was in pharmacology department at the two-year medical school in Oxford.  In 1948, he was named chairman of the physiology department.  He moved to Jackson as chairman when the medical school was expanded to a four year curriculum and the University Medical Center opened in 1955; and

     WHEREAS, he received every scientific honor a physiologist can receive, including the Special Scientific Achievement Award from the American Medical Association, the William Harvey Award from the American Society of Hypertension, the CIBA Award for Research in Hypertension, the Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association.  He was President of the American Physiological Society and the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology.  He was editior-in-chief of the International Review of Physiology and editor of Cardiovascular Volume of the International Review of Physiology.  In 1978 he was invited to give the William Harvey Lecture for the Royal College of Physicians in London honoring the 400th anniversary of the birth of William Harvey, who first described the circulation of blood.  He was invited to lecture at universities all over the globe, wrote scores of books and hundreds of scientific papers and edited many journals.  Yet, as former Vice Chancellor, Dr. Norman C. Nelson has recalled, "he was always attentive to the needs here.  He never closed his door to students, and he was the only teacher I ever knew to turn down an invitation to give a prestigious lecture if it conflicted with his teaching schedule"; and

     WHEREAS, Dr. Guyton and his wife, Ruth Weigle Guyton, built their present home in Jackson soon after they moved here.  Their 10 children, all of whom are now physicians, grew up in the house in north Jackson that their father designed and built.

     WHEREAS, it is with great sadness that we note the passing of this medical giant of the 20th Century, whose widely used medical textbooks and research has brought distinction to the University Medical Center and to the State of Mississippi:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the life and legacy of research of world-renowned Mississippi physiologist Dr. Arthur Guyton, and express the sympathy of the Legislature for his untimely death.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to the surviving family of Dr. Guyton and to the University Medical Center and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.