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 Table of Contents  
OBITUARY
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 305-306

Leslie H blumgart


Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Surgery, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Submission16-Nov-2022
Date of Decision16-Nov-2022
Date of Acceptance16-Nov-2022
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Vinay K Kapoor
Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur - 302 022, Rajasthan
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_144_22

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How to cite this article:
Kapoor VK. Leslie H blumgart. J Med Evid 2022;3:305-6

How to cite this URL:
Kapoor VK. Leslie H blumgart. J Med Evid [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 1];3:305-6. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2022/3/3/305/365854



A qualified dental surgeon in South Africa is fascinated by the complex hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) surgical procedures being performed in the operation room next door. He is not happy with his social life also as he observes racial discrimination against his maid, who happens to be a person of colour, by a policeman who is of a different colour. In search of a better profession and a better society, the young man moves to the UK where he completes his MB, ChB and MD from Sheffield. Later moves through Cardiff (19701972), Glasgow (19721979), London (19791986) and Berne (19861991), finally (in 1991) take Leslie H Blumgart (LHB) to the 'Mecca' of oncology, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) at New York in the USA. He was not only an aggressive and a fast surgeon (I had the chance to watch him operating at the hepatobiliary masterclass organised by Graeme J Poston at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in April 1997 during my 1-year Commonwealth Fellowship with LHB's former colleague Irving S Benjamin at King's) but a keen trainer and a prolific writer (h-index of 104 and more than 33,000 citations[1]). Very few people, only those who were personally close to him, know that he has a gifted sculptor also.[2]

LHB had strong links with India. In 1984, he spent about a week at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; he devoted the whole time to teach residents and narrated many anecdotes of his career. He visited the KEM Hospital in Mumbai in 1985 for a few days. Ravi D Bapat of Mumbai did a 1-year commonwealth fellowship with him in the UK in 19751976. Sanjay De Bakshi joined his unit at Hammersmith in 1990 but he (LHB) left for Switzerland after a month. AN Supe worked as a fellow with him in 1994; 'He advised me to come in winter as there are not many visitors so he could give more time to me' Supe recalls. LHB delivered the living legend lecture at the World Congress of the International HPB Association (IHPBA) held in Mumbai in 2008.

Prof Blumgart touched my life on several occasions. I assisted TK Chattopadhyay (then a lecturer) take out, analyse and present the departmental data on gallbladder cancer (GBC) when LHB visited AIIMS in 1984; this resulted in a unique publication which, probably for the first and the last time, carried the names of the heads of all four surgical units at AIIMS! When I knew that I am going to meet him at the hepatobiliary masterclass in Liverpool in 1997, I took a reprint of our article on segment III cholangiojejunostomy published in the British Journal of Surgery and requested him to autograph it, to which he readily obliged [Figure 1]. During my Fulbright Fellowship to the USA in 2008, he attended my presentation on GBC and even took me to his small office in the MSKCC [Figure 2] and, showing me hundreds of cassettes, told me how busy he was producing his video  Atlas More Details of HPB surgery. I received an email from him on 30th March 2009, just a day after I requested him for a letter of support for an international fellowship. In 2010, he agreed and wrote the foreword for my handbook on GBC and then sent me a signed printed letter [Figure 3] acknowledging the receipt of the copy of the book. In 2013, I sent him my commentary, published in Surgeons News, on his hilar cholangiocarcinoma article in the Journal of American College of Surgeons. 'Many thanks for letting me see your excellent review. I am not operating anymore but still teaching and am involved in administration. I do hope you are well. Best wishes LHB' he emailed. In 2017, I invited him to write a commentary in my book post-cholecystectomy bile duct injury but he declined saying 'Sorry. I cannot do this'. When several of my emails sent to him in July 2021, inviting him to the Jaipur Surgical Festival that was being organised by us at the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur in December 2021 bounced, I wrote to colleagues in MSKCC and Michael D'Angelica informed me that he was not well.
Figure 1: Author's (VKK) paper in the British Journal of Surgery autographed by Prof Leslie H Blumgart

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Figure 2: The Author (VKK) with Prof Leslie H Blumgart at the MSKCC, New York USA in 2008. Note that both of us are sporting the IHPBA tie - his (one of the founders of IHPBA) obviously being an older and faded one than mine (a mere member). The Blumgart 'hand' on my shoulder has definitely played a role in my achieving whatever little I have been able to in the field of HPB Surgery. MSKCC: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, HPB: Hepato-pancreato-biliary, IHPBA: International HPB Association

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Figure 3: Signed letter sent by Prof Leslie H Blumgart to the Author (VKK)

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One of the three 'Bs' (the other two being Stig Bengmark of Sweden and Henri Bismuth of France) of biliary surgery, he was one of the founding fathers of HPB surgery and of IHPBA, then called the International Biliary Association; the IHPBA declared him a Living Legend in 2008 and bestowed upon him the Distinguished Service Award in 2017.

LHB is no longer with us but 'Blumgart' (the voluminous authoritative treatise on HPB surgery) will continue to be read by the students (and even teachers) of HPB surgery and 'Blumgart' (the technique of pancreaticojejunostomy) will continue to be used by the HPB surgeons forever.

Acknowledgements

The Author (VKK) acknowledges inputs from Avinash N Supe (Mumbai), Ramesh Ardhanari (Madurai) and Sanjay De Bakshi (Kolkata).

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Bhattacharya K, Bhattacharya N, De U. Professor Leslie H. Blumgart-pioneering hepatopancreaticobiliary surgeon: A tribute. Indian J Surg 2022:1-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
A Tribute from Dr. William Jarnagin IHPBA President. Available from: https://www.ihpba.org/news/513/dr-leslie-h-blumgart. [Last accessed on 2022 Nov 16].  Back to cited text no. 2
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]



 

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