Dr. Donald Low, a leading infectious disease expert and one of the key figures who led Canada through the SARS crisis has died at the age of 68.
As the face of the medical response to SARS, Dr. Low’s calm confidence and ability to explain what was happening to the public made him a household name as he led the fight against the deadly disease.
After the SARS outbreak, Dr. Low headed the revitalization of Ontario’s Public Health Laboratory and was appointed Medical Director of the facility from 2005 to 2012.
Low was an international authority on public health, infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. Through-out his career he co-authored almost 400 peer-reviewed journal articles, 41 book chapters and nearly 100 invited articles.
Dr. Low recently (2012) retired as Microbiology-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital, a role that he held since 1985. Under Dr. Low’s direction, the Mount Sinai/UHN shared Department of Microbiology was created, and services expanded to ten health-care institutions.
“Dr. Don Low was a deeply respected leader at Mount Sinai Hospital. He was an authority on public health, emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance and his work here will leave a lasting legacy. His many friends and colleagues here at Mount Sinai are profoundly saddened by this loss, and will remember him not only for his many outstanding contributions, including the significant role that he played here at Mount Sinai and all of Toronto during the 2003 SARS crisis, but for his kindness, good humour and commitment to patient care,” says Joseph Mapa, President and CEO, Mount Sinai Hospital.
Dr. Low was a mentor to many in the microbiology field and to mark his retirement this past summer, the Dr. Donald Low Bursary for the Department of Microbiology was created with Mount Sinai’s Foundation to support fellows, residents, technologists and students to spend time in a microbiology laboratory for study or research. To contribute to the bursary in Dr. Low’s memory, click here
With the passing of Dr. Low, Canada has lost one of it’s most passionate medical leaders.
UPDATED: Dr. Low has left a YouTube video making an emotional plea for lawmakers and Canadians to rethink their stand on assisted suicide. He notes he is not afraid of dying – just how it will happen, and how he wishes he had some control. Clink on the image above to view this powerful plea for assisted suicide.