|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 6 | Page : 560-561
Obituary of Dr. Sudhakar Ramchandra Kamat
Shirish P Shah
Consultant in Chest Medicine Department of Nanavati & Aarogyanidhi Hospital; Ex. Honorary HOD Department of Chest Medicine T N Medical College & BYL Nair Hospital Mumbai, India, Maharashtra, India; Board of Regent World Association for Bronchology & Pulmonary Interventions (WABIP)
|Date of Submission||03-Oct-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||03-Oct-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Oct-2020|
Shirish P Shah
Consultant in Chest Medicine Department of Nanavati & Aarogyanidhi Hospital; Ex. Honorary HOD Department of Chest Medicine T N Medical College & BYL Nair Hospital Mumbai, India, Maharashtra; Board of Regent World Association for Bronchology & Pulmonary Interventions (WABIP)
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Shah SP. Obituary of Dr. Sudhakar Ramchandra Kamat. Lung India 2020;37:560-1
Dr. Sudhakar Ramchandra Kamat
December 27, 1931 – September 13, 2020
September 13, 2020 henceforth shall be a sad and dark day in the history of medical fraternity and more so among pulmonologists as one of the most eminent pulmonologists of the country, Prof. Dr. S R Kamat left for heavenly abode peacefully in Pune. The news of the demise made me numb with grief. As a proud student of this great teacher who was greatly influenced by his brilliant academic and administrative work, I really feel proud and privileged to right his obituary though with a heavy and sore heart. I was fortunate to work under his leadership as a houseman, registrar, and lecturer during late seventies to mid-eighties, in the most prestigious department of Chest Medicine located in a separate dedicated Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Center of K E M Hospital and G S Medical College, Mumbai, a premier institute of India.
As narrated in one of his interviews, Dr. S R Kamat was born in Chari, Alibuag, Kokan Region. He did his early schooling locally and then further education in Mumbai. He was a very bright student throughout and procured MBBS degree from T N Medical College and BYL Nair Institute, Mumbai. He then worked in the defence forces and published his first scientific paper on PTB treatment with INH and thiacetazone in 1957 in the Indian Journal of Medical Science. Then, he went to London in 1958 to obtain his MRCP Degree in 1959. He worked there with renowned pulmonary physiologist Dr. Coats John in Cardiff, Wales and got to learn about spirometry and PFT. He conducted many clinic trials, and in 1961, he published his international paper in Thorax. Then, he moved to Boston, USA and worked with Dr. Segal to learn about ventilators and COPD. Later, he published original research paper in the American Review of Respiratory Disease in 1962.
Dr. S R Kamat always had a desire to work for his country, so he returned back to India in 1962 and worked at different institutes like VPChest Institute in Delhi with Dr. A S Paintal, Madras TB Centre and published many scientific papers. He then returned to Mumbai with and joined Department of Chest Medicine, KEM Hospital, in 1967. He later headed this department for nearly 20 years and superannuated in 1990.
During his tenure as a Professor and HOD he lifted it to such a level where it served as a role model for other departments. Dr. Kamat was at his best during this period and reached at peak of his popularity nationally and internationally. He created many firsts in his academic achievements to his credit. He single handedly develop non-TB Chest Specialty and trained generations of students and allowed them to grow. He was solely instrumental to develop most advanced and dedicated intensive respiratory care unit in early eighties. Fiber-optic Bronchoscopy and Drilled Lung Biopsy were added in year 1979. The most sophisticated ABG Lab opened in 1978 Ultramodern PFT Lab with Body Box was added by 1985. Thus, he created truly not only non-TB chest department, but it was developed to a level which can compete with any internationally recognized department.
He strongly bonded chest medicine department with other departments to impart complete training to his students and better patient care. He created weekly meeting with radiology department on Monday afternoon to discuss all difficult cases, Journal Club meeting on every Thursday afternoon to discuss latest published articles, postmortem once a month surgical cases with cardiothoracic surgeons, and it was mandatory for RMO to attend all surgeries and successfully created (though cardiac surgeons were always reluctant) a dedicated a surgery day only for lung surgery and intentionally kept on Saturday so that Cardiac OT can sterilized on Sunday after operating on infected lungs so surgeons would not refuse to operate our infected patients. His marathon Grand round on Saturday was a real academic feast which we all enjoyed as PG students. Reflecting his clinical acumen and his great passion for teaching. This period was the golden period of the department, and he proved himself as a great mentor and we all are indebted to him for his incredible contribution in our growth.
He also had special interest in occupational lung diseases and air pollution and did phenomenal work on byssinosis, asbestosis, chemical factories emitting dangerous gases, etc., We received an award from Indian Association for Occupational Health in 1982 for work on Asbestosis. He had the deeper sense of satisfaction about his own work and role he played in Bhopal Gas Tragedy for the Government of India in 1985, which he considered his best contribution to this country. He was a Chief of Air Pollution Department in Bombay Municipal Corporation (now Mahanagar Palika). He was on WHO panel for climate control.
He had a foresight that our country needs a better and wider platform to deal with non-TB Respiratory Diseases, and with this goal in mind, he initiated and played a great role to form an Indian Chest Society in 1980, he being founder Secretary of the ICS. Then, he organized first conference of ICS in Mumbai in 1981 and various national and international experts were invited to discuss non-TB respiratory diseases. Later, he was instrumental with other colleagues to start an independent scientific journal named Lung India, in 1982 which is an indexed journal now.
He lived a very simple life and cared for his family very much. I remember that he always used to take a 1-month vacation every year to be with his family members and used to enjoy holidays with them. After his retirement in 1990, he started his private practice and was associated with Inlaks and Swastik Hospital in Chembur, Mumbai. In view of his outstanding lifetime contribution to Pulmonary Specialty, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 in Kolkata by ICS.
He dedicated his whole life to teaching, training, research, developing department, etc., Hence, in a true sense, he had multiple facets of being a great clinician, a brilliant teacher, outstanding researcher and able administrator which will be cherished by his students, colleagues etc., and to take a leaf out of the career of this noble mentor Dr. S R Kamat will be itself a great adieu to him.
It is a indeed a great loss which cannot be replaced or fulfilled, but he shall continue live in our hearts forever and shall be remembered for his honesty, sincere and selfless contribution to our fraternity and our country. Our heartfelt condolences to his family. We will miss him forever.