Dr James MackIntosh (Jim) Borowczyk
B.Sc., M.B.,Ch.B., F.R.C.P. (Edin) PGDipMSM (Otago), F.A.F.M.M., M.PainMed(Newcastle).
The New Zealand College of Musculoskeletal Medicine is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr Jim Borowczyk on February 5, 2023, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. A dedicated member of the Spine Intervention Society, Dr Borowczyk made significant contributions to the field of musculoskeletal medicine, both in New Zealand and internationally.
Born in Scotland and living most of his adult life in Christchurch, New Zealand, Dr Borowczyk’s passion for Musculoskeletal Medicine led him to become an instructor, and later the director, of the Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine course at the University of Otago in Christchurch. He was one of the Founding Fellows of the Australasian Faculty of Musculoskeletal Medicine and earned his Masters degree in Pain Medicine from the University of Newcastle.
During his career, Dr Borowczyk was introduced to needle procedures for spinal pain, quickly adopting them into his practice. He trained in diagnostic blocks and radiofrequency neurotomy under Professor Bogduk, contributing significantly to the Spine Intervention Society’s body of knowledge through his work. Along with fellow New Zealanders and SIS members, he contributed chapters to the Encyclopedia of Pain and published a series of cases that highlighted that pain of vertebral compression fractures can arise from the posterior elements.
Dr Borowczyk’s research in cervical and lumbar medial branch radiofrequency neurotomy, alongside his close friend John MacVicar, demonstrated impressive results. Their work showed that complete relief of pain could be achieved in a large proportion of patients, provided that SIS Guidelines were strictly followed. This research also demonstrated that high-quality research could be conducted in private practice, as long as accurate records were kept in a disciplined and professional manner.
In recent years, Dr Borowczyk focused on ensuring the future of SIS procedures in New Zealand, chairing a working party to develop a training program based on SIS Guidelines. Although he was unable to see this project through to completion, his colleagues are committed to continuing his work and honouring his legacy.
The NZCMM would like to acknowledge Professor Nikolai Bogduk and Dr John MacVicar for his obituary, published in the Journal of Interventional Pain Medicine, which provided valuable insight into Dr Borowczyk’s life and contributions. Dr Jim Borowczyk’s passion for Musculoskeletal Medicine, his dedication to research, and his commitment to the education of future practitioners have left a lasting impact on the field. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues, friends, and the wider medical community.