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OBITUARY
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 292-293
 

In memoriam for Prof. Noshir H. Wadia


1 Department of Neurology, Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission06-May-2016
Date of Decision06-May-2016
Date of Acceptance06-May-2016
Date of Web Publication12-May-2016

Correspondence Address:
Sarosh M Katrak
Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, 15 G Deshmukh Marg, Mumbai, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.182301

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How to cite this article:
Singhal BS, Katrak SM. In memoriam for Prof. Noshir H. Wadia. Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2016;19:292-3

How to cite this URL:
Singhal BS, Katrak SM. In memoriam for Prof. Noshir H. Wadia. Ann Indian Acad Neurol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Oct 14];19:292-3. Available from: http://www.annalsofian.org/text.asp?2016/19/2/292/182301













Prof. Noshir H. Wadia

April 10, 2016, Sunday, was a sad day for the Indian and the International Neurology Community. On this day, Prof. Noshir H. Wadia universally regarded as the founder of contemporary Indian neurology died at the age of 91 years.

Noshir H. Wadia was born on January 20, 1925, in Surat to Dina and Hormusji Wadia in a middle-income timber merchant family. He always wanted to be a doctor and pursued his premedical education at St. Xavier's School and College. In 1943, he joined the Grant Medical College and Sir J. J. Group of Hospitals and completed his UG and PG studies by 1950. In those days, MRCP was considered the gold standard for any physician and also a very big challenge. He successfully cleared the MRCP (London) at the first attempt in March 1952. Between 1952 and 1956, he pursued his neurology training in the UK, initially, under Mr. G. F. Rowbotham in the Department of Neurosurgery, Newcastle General Hospital. It was Mr. G. F. Rowbotham who strongly recommended him to Sir Russell Brain. At the interview, Sir Russell Brain asked him, “Will you go back to India or stay here?” Dr. Wadia's unhesitant answer was “I will go back.” Thus, Dr. Wadia became the registrar to the legendary neurologist Sir Russell Brain at the Maida Vale and London Hospital. In 1954, he had some doubts about pursuing a career in neurology and was discouraged by the then Surgeon General of Bombay State's reply that he should get appointed as a general physician just as many of his contemporaries had already done. He spoke to his mentor, Sir Russell Brain, toward the end of his tenure at the Maida Vale Hospital seeking his advice about the future of his career in neurology. Sir Brain spoke to his colleague and friend Dr. Macdonald Critchley and then advised Dr. Wadia to return to Bombay as a neurologist at his alma mater. That is the reason why Sir Russell Brain took Dr. Noshir H. Wadia to London Hospital where they had to do general medicine, neurology, and emergencies. He was the first Asian to be appointed as a registrar in London Hospital.

At the age of 32 years, he set up the Department of Neurology the Grant Medical College and Sir J. J. Group of Hospitals, when there were very few dedicated neurologists in Asia. He worked in an honorary capacity and established the department in spite of being inundated with work, paucity of funds and equipment and in the days of the license raj. Yet, he found time to identify and document the prevalence of local and unique diseases to build-up a regional neurological nosology. An astute clinician, his outstanding research was in identifying an autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia with slow eye movements – later designated as spinocerebellar ataxia type 2. Not only did he establish the clinical features but also studied the velocity of the slow saccades and in collaboration with German colleagues documented the degeneration of neurons in the paramedian pontine reticular formation. This exemplary work was spread over several decades through sheer dint of hard work and perseverance. His other seminal contribution has been the identification of new adult polio-like illness following acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis in 1971 – later designated as EV-70 disease. He also worked on nutritional disorders of the nervous system, congenital atlantoaxial dislocation, and Wilson's disease. All these entities were later documented in his book “Neurological Practice: An Indian Perspective.”

In 1973, he was appointed as the Director of the Department of Neurosciences at JHRC. Again this department was recognized by the National and International Neurology community as one of the centers of excellence in India. In 2010, he voluntarily stepped down as Director, and in appreciation of his services, he was the first consultant to be appointed as Director Emeritus.

Through his teaching, he has attracted medical students to neurology and is now recognized as a mentor to hundreds of practicing neurologists globally. He has treated thousands of patients with care and concern laced with elegant bedside manners. Those who met him invariably came away impressed by the depth of his knowledge of neurology and science and the natural courtesy he displays toward people from all walks of life. He has been the recipient of many awards which he has accepted humbly. He served the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) in many capacities and his services to the WFN were fully recognized when he became the first recipient of the WFN gold medal for Services to Neurology at the World Congress of Neurology, Bangkok, in October 2009 – a benchmark achievement. On January 26, 2012, the Government of India recognized his services to neurology by conferring the Padma Bhushan award to him.

We, his students and colleagues, feel that he was a caring doctor, an excellent teacher, a researcher, and above all, a good human being. He will remain in our hearts, always loved, immensely missed, but never forgotten. May his soul rest in peace.




 

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