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The Thomas and Dorothy Tung Professorship

Tung.Dorothy and TommyTHOMAS J.K. TUNG, MD, earned his medical degree from the National Taiwan University College of Medicine in 1960. After finishing his surgical residency at National Taiwan University Hospital in 1964, Dr. Tung went to Massachusetts General Hospital as a surgical fellow. In 1967, he came to The Johns Hopkins Hospital to begin a residency in Anesthesiology under the leadership of Donald W. Benson, MD, PhD. After completing his residency, Dr. Tung was appointed as assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine. In 1975, he was promoted to associate professor and then, in 2001, to full professor.

Dr. Tung had a great wealth of knowledge in clinical anesthesiology, as well as basic science research. His career in research began in collaboration with John L. Cameron, MD and continued with Solbert Permutt, MD, Richard J. Traystman, PhD, and Raymond C. Kohler, PhD. Dr. Tung’s research interests included acid pulmonary injury, cerebral-respiratory interaction, venous air embolism, hypertonic saline, and brain injury. He was also engaged in animal stroke studies. Dr. Tung published more than 100 peer-reviewed research manuscripts. He also wrote three book chapters and held a United States patent for the “Train-of-Four Monitor,” an apparatus used to assess neuromuscular function in response to muscle relaxants given to patients during surgical anesthesia. Dr. Tung served as an honorary co-chairman of the Physician’s Advisory Board of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Over the years, he became an expert in the field of venous air embolism and was invited to testify as an expert witness in this area. He also made a significant contribution to the understanding of the cerebral effect of positive end-expiratory pressure ventilation.

Dr. Tung was an enormously talented clinician. He was described as “fearless” by his colleagues and over the years earned the nickname “Dead Eye Tung” from his surgical coworkers because of his unique ability to quickly localize veins for placement of IVs. He was best known for his unique approaches to solving the most challenging cases. Although his primary clinical interest was in neurosurgical anesthesia, Dr. Tung worked in nearly every area within the anesthesiology specialty. In addition to being a fantastic anesthesiologist, Dr. Tung was an effective teacher and mentor and helped many of his trainees in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine advance their careers throughout the United States.

Dr. Tung was born in May of 1934 in Taipei, Taiwan. During this time, Taiwan was under Japanese occupation. In his childhood, he witnessed air raid bombardments by United States war planes. During the depression at the end of World War II and through his graduation from medical school, Dr. Tung worked a variety of jobs including making deliveries and tutoring in order to help support his family. After completing his internship at Taiwan University Hospital in 1962, he married Dorothy. Raised in a traditional oriental home, Dorothy believed that her life was destined to be that of a wife and mother. Nevertheless, she worked as a high school English teacher and helped her husband save enough money to study abroad. She made it her life’s priority to support her husband’s career and to help their children further their education. Dorothy taught their children not to take anything for granted, to maintain a great attitude, to be patient, and to be tenacious about the things they wanted to accomplish in life.

While Dr. Tung studied in the United States, Dorothy flew with their two-year-old daughter, Jeany, and two-month-old son, Thomas, to unite with him in Boston. Their third child, William, was born in the United States. Once all of their children were in elementary school, Dorothy returned to her education and became a nurse. After graduating from the Nursing Program at the Community College of Baltimore County, Essex Campus in 1975, Dorothy worked at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. At some point in each of their lives, the entire Tung family has been associated with Johns Hopkins Medicine: William Tung graduated from the School of Medicine in 1992; Jeany Tung Lundberg completed her residency training in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine in 1993; and Thomas Tung completed his residency training in the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive and Maxillofacial Surgery in the Department of Surgery in 1998.

Dorothy retired from nursing in 2002 and spent much of her time traveling to Japan to visit her parents. In 2005, while in Japan on Mother’s Day, Dorothy was tragically killed in a car accident. Dr. Tung established the Thomas and Dorothy Tung Professorship in love and admiration for his beloved wife and to commemorate his family’s lifelong relationship with Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Dr. Thomas Tung passed at the end of December 2022.