Gomes Receives Pacemaker

Plummer Professor of Christian Morals Peter J. Gomes underwent a heart pacemaker surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital on Friday after stumbling from severe dizziness while delivering a talk in upstate New York on Wednesday.

Gomes, 67, suffered from a sudden bout of dizziness and light-headedness while speaking at St. Lawrence University and subsequently lost his balance on stage, according to Rev. Jonathan C. Page ’02, Epps Fellow at Memorial Church. Gomes was immediately taken to a hospital near the university that night.

On Thursday, he was transferred to Mass. General and examined by cardiologists, who determined that a sudden drop in blood pressure had caused Gomes’ faintness, according to Page.

The next day, doctors inserted an artificial pacemaker into Gomes’ heart. The devise sends electrical signals to the heart in order to regulate the heart rate and maintain constant blood pressure in the body. The pacemaker will hopefully help to relieve Gomes’ sensations of dizziness, according to Page, who also noted that the procedure went smoothly.

“If all goes well, [Gomes] should be released from the hospital in the next few days. He’ll probably be taking it easy, and I don’t know when he will come back fully to work,” said Page, who visited the Pusey Minister at the hospital on Saturday. “The good news is that he seems to be doing very well, and hopefully he’ll be back to his normal self in no time.”


Gomes, who was appointed professor and minister at Memorial Church in 1974, has been a quintessential presence at Harvard for decades. He hosts a weekly Wednesday Tea at Sparks House, the residence across from Memorial Hall in which he lives alone. It is unclear whether he will be well enough to attend this week.

Page said that Gomes welcomes any flowers or cards sent to his home at 21 Kirkland St.

—Staff writer Jessie J. Jiang can be reached at