Ernest Guy, MD, Chief of Anesthesia at SFGH from 1959 - 1973, Has Passed Away

Ernest Philip Guy, age 96, died peacefully in his home on September 5, 2017.  He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Patty, and daughters Phyllis and Patricia, as well as many nieces and nephews.  Ernie was the son of Rev. and Mrs. R. E. Guy of Jackson, Tennessee; he was the ‘middle of the pack’ and the last surviving sibling of their seven children.

After graduation from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, Ernie joined the Army Air Corp, becoming a flight instructor.  Fulfillment of his lifelong dream of being a doctor began when he entered medical school at University of Tennessee followed by his residency at John Gaston Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.  He entered a general practice partnership with his brother-in-law in Henderson, Tennessee.  Five years later, he decided to specialize in Anesthesia and was accepted at University of Iowa.  When the Chairman of the Anesthesia department moved to chair the department at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Ernie was invited to join the new staff.  He became Chief of Anesthesia and Chief of Staff at the San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) in his role as Associate Professor at UCSF, providing on-the-job training to residents in Anesthesia while managing the SFGH emergency services.  During that time, he worked on various committees planning for and re-designing a new hospital, updating hospital policies, and helping hospital management through a tumultuous political time.  He was often invited by the American Board of Anesthesiology to be an examiner, certifying new Anesthesiologist. After 18 years in San Francisco, Ernie joined the DeKalb Anesthesia Group in Decatur, Georgia, retiring in 1985 to make beautiful wood furniture and to pursue his love of gardening, creating a masterpiece in his own yard. 

Always a devout Christian, Ernie was an ordained Deacon serving in churches as well as teaching Sunday School classes.  He was a Trustee of the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary in Sausalito, California, working to expand the educational program and raising funds to ensure the future of the Seminary.  He often challenged traditional approaches in an effort to expand the churches’ and the seminary’s thinking to keep them modern while maintaining essential Christian values.

Whether working in the university or private practice, or serving his religious community, among his many talents, teaching was possibly his greatest.  Whether you were his student, his child, his nephew or niece, or a member of his Sunday School class, his methodology was to take the devil’s advocate position to challenge your thinking.  This approach often frustrated the receiver but helped the student learn the lesson.  He greeted each person with delight, an open heart, and an open mind.  To say he will be missed is an under-statement; but, more importantly, he will be remembered.

Some remembrances from Dr. Guy's UCSF colleagues include:

"He was one of our favorites.  He had a unique way of approaching problems and was always supportive of the residents."

- Terry Vitez, MD (UCSF Anesthesia Residency Class of 1974)

"He was a great faculty member and teacher.  He spent many years at SFGH and really was an important contributor to the anesthesia service there.  I am sending you a contribution to the Dept Research Fund in his memory."

- C.Philip Larson, MD (UCSF Anesthesia Residency Class of 1962; Former Vice Chair of Anesthesia and Chief of Anesthesia at SFGH; Former Chair, Anesthesia at Stanford)

"Ernie was a dear friend, a superb clinical anesthetist, and the most ingenious and dedicated teacher I was ever privileged to work with. He was truly one of a kind. He was as dedicated to his faith and supportive of his church as he was to his role as physician and teacher. Heaven will be made better by his presence. My deepest sympathy to his family."

- Richard Barber, MD (UCSF Anesthesia Faculty 1967-1979)

"Ernie Guy was an excellent clinician, educator, and role model.  He was also a kind, generous person.  I was fortunate to be a resident when he was Chief of Service at SFGH, and learned a great deal from him, about many things."

- Richard Weiskopf, MD (UCSF Anesthesia Residency Class of 1969, UCSF Anesthesia Fellowship 1970-1971, UCSF Anesthesia and Perioperative Care Faculty Senate Emeritus)

In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations be made to Winship Cancer Institute, 1365 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30322. Memorial donations can also be made in Dr. Guy’s name in support of research and scholarly endeavors in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care.

The Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care thanks Dr. Guy's family for providing this obituary. Photos courtesy Dr. Guy's family as well as Dr. Richard Schlobohm, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care.