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Obituary - Joseph deGiovanni (1949-2023)

Last updates May 8, 2023

Our dear friend, mentor and colleague Jo deGiovanni passed away on 8.5.2023.

Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.

The AEPC Interventional Working Group lost a very valuable founding member. Sir Shakeel Qureshi’s obituary, a longterm friend and companion of Jo, expresses our deep grief.

Dr. Jo deGiovanni was born on 15 March 1949 in Malta. He graduated from the Royal University of Malta Medical School in 1973. He moved to the UK in 1975 after the initial training posts in Malta. In 1983, he was appointed as a Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. 

Jo provided exceptional service to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, helping in many new service developments such as interventional cardiology, echocardiography, arrhythmia therapy, adult congenital heart disease and intervention for noncoronary structural heart disease. He has also been at the forefront in introducing new techniques to the unit, such as transvenous pacing in 1981, blade septostomy in 1982, balloon angioplasty in 1983, myocardial biopsy in children in 1984, and  electrophysiology studies in 1985. Since then he has regularly introduced new techniques and technology to the unit.  

Jo was committed to help, teach and promote all the new techniques in many countries around the world, both developing and developed countries. He has contributed enormously to similar developments in his native Malta. He was awarded Order of Merit by the President of Malta in 1994 for setting up cardiac services in Malta and training staff. He was also made Visiting Professor of the University of Malta in 2013.  Jo was elected Scientific Secretary of the Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology (AEPC) between 2007 and 2012. He was a great researcher and published over 160 papers and gave over 600 lectures at national and international meetings. He was highly respected by paediatric cardiologists all around the world and was invited regularly as a faculty member and speaker at conferences from USA to Europe to Africa to Asia and the Far East. Dr de Giovanni always gave his time selflessly in teaching practical interventional procedures, in particular in the developing countries, in order to bring their services up to modern levels. He made himself available to help them, whenever they asked for his help.

He was awarded the PICS Achievement award in the USA as well as the Lifetime Achievement award by British Congenital Cardiac Association in 2015, and he became Honorary Member of AEPC for his contribution to the field of paediatric cardiology. 

Over the last few years, he fought his terminal illness with great determination and fortitude. He sadly passed away peacefully on 8 May 2023. 

On behalf of the AEPC - Council & Interventional working group,

Written by

Prof. Sir Shakeel A. Qureshi
Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist
Evelina London Children's Hospital
London, UK

Dr. Chetan Mehta
Consultant Cardiologist and Cath Lab Lead
Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Birmingham, UK

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