Obituary - Professor Pritam Singh

Professor Pritam Singh

1920 to 2009

Professor Pritam Singh,MS FAMS FFARCS(Hon) former Professor of Anaesthesia and Principal, Medical College, Amritsar, India passed away on 16th October 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He was Professor and Head of the Department of Anaesthesia from 1957 to 1978. He was Editor, Indian Journal of Anaesthesia for many years, President of the Indian Society of Anaesthetists, Director of Medical Education and Research in Punjab, a Founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and President of the Asian Chapter of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists. But more than all these accolades, what endeared him to his students was that he treated and helped them as members of his own family. This writer had the privilege to be one of his early students and to assist him in his editorial tasks.

He was instrumental in setting up an independent department of anaesthesia all those decades ago. ‘Doctor Sahib’ was a quintessential leader who led by example. He was conferred FFARCS(Hon) and Hon. Membership of AAGBI in recognition of his numerous contributions to the specialty. He was also a veteran of World War II. He served in the Burma Campaign, rose to become a major,was awarded the Burma Star and was mentioned in despatches.

There is no doubt that the passing away of his wife Basant Kaur in 2006 dealt him a devastating blow, from which he never really recovered. His passing away (incidentally on 16 October, anniversary of the birth of anaesthesia) will leave a void impossible to fill for his family and his numerous students who went on to become professors and consutants all over the world.

‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.’
William A Ward (1921-1977)

Professor Pritam Singh was truly a great teacher who inspired all of us.

Dr G V Pathy, Consultant Anaesthetist (retired)