OT founding publisher David L. Murray dies

March 15, 2007

David L. Murray, founder of numerous news-based medical magazines-including Ophthalmology Times-was viewed by many who knew him as a visionary for starting a new kind of communication among physicians.

David L. Murray, founder of numerous news-based medical magazines-including Ophthalmology Times-was viewed by many who knew him as a visionary for starting a new kind of communication among physicians.

Murray died Jan. 31 in Naples, FL. He was 72.

"Urology Times very quickly became quite a success," recalls his wife of 32 years, Zahna "Zee" King Murray.

That success was accompanied by a fair amount of criticism by those who believed medical advances should be vetted through a great deal of study before being published. In an effort to ensure that the news was accurate, Murray and his team established editorial advisory boards, composed of physicians in each medical specialty, that would read the articles before publication.

Jack M. Dodick, MD, who served as Ophthalmology Times' chief medical editor from 1976 to 1996, helped promulgate the concept because he agreed that physicians needed a faster way to communicate their findings to each other than through medical journals.

"David Murray, in my mind, was a visionary," said Dr. Dodick, professor and chairman, department of ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine, and chairman, department of ophthalmology, Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital, New York.

"Because changes were happening so rapidly, sometimes they were outdated by the time they got in print," he said of the journals. "David saw the need for an ophthalmologist to get information out in less than a month and get information in tabloid form."

Murray's magazines spawned several other medical news publications that have become an important means of communication today.

"Today, there are just so many rapid changes in our specialty and multiple paradigm shifts that this has become a way to communicate those changes quite rapidly," Dr. Dodick said.

"It should be emphasized that, although it's become an important way of communicating, it does not replace the role of peer-reviewed journals," he added.

The early years

Murray spent 2 years at Harvard University, Boston, and then graduated from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, before joining Ross Laboratories. He later sold advertising space for OB/GYN News, then started Emergency Medicine magazine. He sold his interest in that magazine and formed Murray Communications, which he owned for about 10 years.

During that time, Murray was involved in each magazine and read every story closely, said Mrs. Murray, who sold advertising to equipment manufacturers.