The EECP father, mentor, colleague, and friend, John Chee Kuen Hui, PhD, now lives on in our memories. Within mine, particularly, Dr. John C.K. Hui was, and will remain, larger than life. He was the EECP father; he was my mentor; and, he was the world’s biggest proponent of EECP for what it did and the potential it offers to prevent and reverse cardiovascular disease. John C.K. Hui passed on Nov. 9, 2017. His legacy lives on through me. I am Sara Soulati, CEO of Global Cardio Care, Inc., the Los Angeles EECP therapy centers.
About John C.K. Hui, PhD
As a leading authority on Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP), John C.K. Hui, Ph.D., earned his expertise in physics from International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan in 1969. He spent a year at the University of California, Berkeley and then moved to Stony Brook University in New York where he obtained a Master’s degree in 1972 followed by a doctorate in physics in 1972. His Ph.D. thesis was on Contributions of Anharmonicity and Electron Photon Interaction to the Thermodynamics of Solids.
In 1973, Dr. Hui’s father died of a heart attack. In 1974, Dr. Hui studied EECP with Clifford Birtwell, the inventor of the concept of counterpulsation, through 1978, the year Dr. Birtwell passed. Dr. Hui carried on Birtwell’s research and experimental work at Stony Brook.
Throughout his tenure, Dr. Hui published more than 60 clinical and scientific papers. He holds six patents. He founded Vasogenics, the precursor to Vasomedical, Inc., a world leader in the design and development of EECP systems. Dr. Hui was president and CEO of Vasogenics.
To devote more of his time to research, Dr. Hui resigned from the Vasomedical board of directors. In 2010, he became its chief medical technology officer and senior vice president. At the time of his death, Dr. Hui was involved in developing preventative non-invasive therapy options with EECP to halt the progression of cardiovascular disease.
Sara Soulati, EECP Authority, Tribute to John C.K. Hui
It was 1996 when I first started doing EECP. I had a clinic in Newport Beach, California, called EECP West. Dr. Hui had just finished submitting the clinical trials and getting EECP FDA cleared in 1995 with Stoney Brook University in Stoney Brook, New York.
I remember when I started he was the only person with whom I could communicate as he was the EECP father, inventor, mentor, and expert. Dr. Hui brought the EECP machine from China to the University of Stoney Brook for the clinical trials.
In the beginning, the clinicians and researchers were studying EECP for end-stage heart disease and refractory angina. I was on the phone a lot with Dr. Hui in the early years because my patients and clients were not people with only end-stage heart disease.
Dr. Hui’s father died early at 50-years-old from a massive heart attack. He always thought he would die at a very young age, too, but he lived 20 years longer than his dad. Still, Dr. Hui thought EECP was just for end-stage heart disease; however, I learned early on that EECP was for every condition of the heart.
My patients were being treated in Newport Beach, California, and they were diabetic, hypertensive patients with poor circulation. They had problems with memory and dementia, too. I remember calling Dr. Hui at Stoney Brook from Newport Beach and I would say, “Dr. Hui, I have this patient here. Their blood sugar is dropping, what’s happening and why is EECP doing this?” Dr. Hui would say, “What do you mean? Do you think EECP is lowering the blood sugar?” I would reply, “Yes, yes! How is this happening?”
He and I went back and forth talking about how the blood is circulating into the pancreas and patients are coming in with lower blood sugar. He would say how strange that is because EECP is only for heart disease. Then, the next time the same patient would come in for therapy, I would call Dr. Hui and tell him the patient’s memories are getting better. They had dementia before and now they’re thinking was improved. Little by little, I became the person who would call him all the time with our patients’ clinical results at the bedside. We constantly pushed the envelope, talked together about how EECP was improving this and doing that. We brainstormed about the endless possibilities and opportunities with EECP to save lives and prove it was the solution we needed in our healthcare system.
Dr. Hui was a visionary. He saw the world with EECP in it. He saw the healthcare system being reformed by this little-known therapy, and he worked every single day on research to prove the efficacy of EECP on a variety of conditions, diseases, and abnormalities.
Renal Failure & EECP
We discussed people suffering from renal failure, and I gave him data and shared my information with him. Soon, after many hours of conversation and showing the treatment results, Dr. Hui began to see that maybe EECP was beyond just the heart. At first, he would say to me that EECP is not for anybody without end-stage heart disease.
Finally, six months later after I started working at EECP West in Newport Beach, I called Dr. Hui and told him I wanted to get on the machine myself. He thought I was crazy because he asked why on Earth would I get on the machine? It’s not for healthy people with no problems! I said that old men who got EECP had improved blood sugar and blood pressure. Their circulation would get better, they were able to walk better, they had more energy, they had more stamina, so why wouldn’t I benefit, too?
So, I started to put myself on the machine, and that’s when I knew this could change our world.
Dr. Hui was head of research and development at Stoney Brook University and then he founded Vasomedical, Inc. He believed in what I was saying, so his company gave me a machine.
I interacted with Larry Liebman and Dr. Hui at Vasomedical, and everyone knew how passionate I was about EECP. They gave me a machine and I took it to the U.S. Olympic Sprint Team. I did the first trial run with EECP and professional sprinters: Maurice Green, Quincy Watts, Gentry Bradley, and others. Dr. Hui believed me, and he believed in me. It wasn’t that he totally understood what I was explaining to him, but he believed in my commitment and passion for EECP.
That was our start of our relationship. We connected with each other: he as the EECP father and my mentor. He would always say I was the queen of EECP, he was the father of EECP and Dr. Zhen was the inventor and grandfather of EECP.
Throughout the years, Dr. Hui would always joke and say sorry we have to do something, we have to do clinical trials together before something happens to me. He always said, “Sara, I’m not going to be here that long.” My goal was to always go to New York and spend more time with him but even with the miles between us, we were always connected.
Vasomedical began to alter the EECP machines and soon the company began to change, as well. I would call him and say, “I don’t like this new machine, and I was so adamant about the machines that we originally had and he finally listened and he said okay why don’t you just go to China? Just go to China and see if they can make a machine for you.”
On The Day The EECP Father Passed Away
Dr. Hui connected me to someone in China, and it took many years to make progress. On November 9, 2017, the day that Dr. Hui passed away, I signed my contract with a manufacturer in China. How fitting that this significant milestone was celebrated on the same day Dr. Hui said his good bye to this world. Without Dr. Hui’s continued support and connectedness with me, I never would have reached a point to execute a contract with anyone, but Dr. Hui was always there guiding and mentoring me.
That day will always symbolize to me the taking of the reins from Dr. Hui’s vision and adding my vision to ensure everyone has access to EECP. Dr. Hui always said, “Sara, you are the next generation. You are the one. I will pass this torch to you, and it is your responsibility to take it to the next level.”
Dr. Hui’s passion runs through me. His wisdom is within my heart. There is always a place in the world for Dr. Hui to be acknowledged as the scientist who brought EECP to America. The work we do today at Global Cardio Care and the passion I have for the treatment is because of the opportunity Dr. Hui presented. He brought this machine to America, and then he listened, trusted, believed, and kept his vision alive every single day.
Dr. Hui Was a Scientist
As a scientist, Dr. Hui wanted to understand what I was saying clinically on the scientific level. I was an advocate for the patient, pushing the envelope, trying to make him understand that EECP is not just for end-stage disease. Finally, as the years went by, he started to listen and understand that EECP was affecting the whole body. Together we were going to do something big and he would always say that I should carry on and I am the one that can take it to the next level. He was passing the baton to me and now I will go forward and make sure that his vision is connected with my vision and that together we will continue our crusade, although he is physically gone.
For the work that I do today and the work that I do in the future will also represent the work of Dr. Hui. His dream will continue through my work, and I’m dedicating the work I do to bring awareness about how incredible he was as the pioneer and EECP father, mentor, scientists, and teacher to the world of EECP. His wisdom runs through my heart, and I will always cherish everything that Dr. Hui has done for the world of EECP.
Other Tributes to John C.K. Hui
The International EECP Society knew Dr. Hui extremely well. The organization consists of many of Dr. Hui’s colleagues and friends. On Nov. 13, 2017, this Facebook post directly from the page of the IEECP Society shares this endearment:
“Words may not suffice for us to express our heartfelt sorrow for the recent passing of Dr. John Hui. As an international pioneer, a renowned biomedical engineer, a formidable scholar, and a passionate missionary of EECP, John has dedicated his whole life to the introduction of EECP to the world. In fact, just recently we have been in contact with him, discussing opportunities for collaborative projects for EECP. His passing way is undoubtedly a great loss for the cause of advancing our knowledge and application of EECP. On behalf of the Chinese EECP Society, please accept my most sincere condolences. We are indeed honored and blessed to have known John, who has been an edifying mentor, an inspiring colleague, and a caring friend to all of us. Treasured memories are what we have to remember our dearly departed, who never truly leaves, for his example and his legacy lives on.
Guifu Wu, MD, PhD, FACC
On Behalf of the EECP Branch of Chinese Biomedical Engineering Society
Other tributes are available via Bryant Funeral Home.