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OBITUARY
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 465-466
Dr. Arthur Saravanamuthu Thambiah - AST, An immortal icon of dermatology in India


Retired Prof and HOD, Department of Dermatology, Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, India

Date of Web Publication10-Sep-2011

Correspondence Address:
Subramanyam Premalatha
Room No.118, Clasic Kudumbam, Classic Farms Road, Sholinganallur, Ashok Pillar Road K.K.Nagar, Chennai-600 078 Tamilnadu
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How to cite this article:
Premalatha S. Dr. Arthur Saravanamuthu Thambiah - AST, An immortal icon of dermatology in India. Indian J Dermatol 2011;56:465-6

How to cite this URL:
Premalatha S. Dr. Arthur Saravanamuthu Thambiah - AST, An immortal icon of dermatology in India. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2020 Sep 19];56:465-6. Available from: http://www.e-ijd.org/text.asp?2011/56/4/465/84711




Dr. Arthur Saravanamuthu Thambiah popularly known as AST was born in the early hours of 2 nd January, 1924, as the second child in his family. He was fondly called 'Bobbie' by his mother.

His mother Dr. Lily Enoch was the best outgoing lady student of Madras Medical College. His father Rao Bahadur Captain S. Thambiah was an IMS officer who served in the British Army. Later, after obtaining his MRCP degree, he underwent special training in dermatology at London, following which he took charge of the Dermatology department at MMC.

AST studied at Ewart school and later at Madras Christian College high school. After completing his intermediate course with merit scholarship he studied MBBS at Madras Medical College. He was awarded the George Smith prize in Pathology and the Chipperfield Gold Medal in Medicine. He did his Postgraduate studies in UK at the Institute of Dermatology, London. After obtaining MRCP (Dermatology) in1951, he joined Madras Medical Service in the same year. Later, he passed the Diploma in Venereology examinations in 1955. He was a Colombo plan scholar in UK from 1958 to 1959.

He was also trained in dermatology at Cambridge Addenbrooke's hospital and Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh in 1959. AST was the first Indian to be appointed as Registrar in the Histopathology department at Institute of Dermatology, London. His mentor in Dermatopathology was Dr. Henry Haber at St. John's Hospital for Skin.

In 1961, he became the first Professor of Dermatology at Madras Medical College. He was also posted as Dermatologist, Government General Hospital, Madras. He was the pioneer who established the Diploma and MD courses of the Madras University in 1962. His punctuality, dedication to patients, and systematic teaching to his students was legendary. He retired from the government service in 1982 with an unparalleled record of not availing any earned or medical leave during his entire period of service.

He was awarded the Dr. B.C. Roy National Award under the category of Eminent Medical Teacher in 1978. He also received the Gold medal in recognition of his services to the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, as Overseas Regional Adviser from1974 to 1998 (24 years).

AST published a total of 208 publications both in national and international journals. His renowned papers included the first Asian case of Lipoid Proteinosis in the British Journal of Dermatology (1963) and the first world report of Cystic changes in the bones of Darier's disease in British Journal of Dermatology (1969). Many of his articles have been published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.

He was a distinguished member of the Dermatology Society of India (DSI). He is respected as a doyen of Dermatology by the dermatology fraternity of the country, a dedicated doctor by his patients and a great teacher by his students who were immensely impressed by his knowledge. He was an excellent speaker - a "silver tongued orator" who attracted the audience with his oratorical skills. He was also a man of principles, discipline, ethics and simplicity with an appreciation of fine arts.

AST passed away at the age of 87 years after a brief illness on May 11, 2011 at KJ Hospital, Chennai. A prayer service was held at Wesley Church, Egmore, and the funeral took place at Kilpauk cemetery. Being wedded to dermatology, he is survived mainly by his students. With his passing away, a Golden era of dermatology in India, particularly in Tamilnadu, came to a sad end.




 

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