Mr Amir Azmy left us on Thursday, 10 March 2011. The news of Amir's death was unexpected and a shock to all his mentors and students at the Royal hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, in Egypt, and in many other countries across the globe.
Amir was born on 1 November 1939. After graduating from the highly respected Ains Shams University in Cairo in 1964, and getting his Diploma of Surgery in 1966, he underwent basic training in pediatric surgery under Professor Bahnassy in Ain Shams University until 1970. Amir decided to pursue further training and to get the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK (a common practice for elite Egyptian surgeons at the time). He started in Durham in 1971 as a surgical registrar, then moved to Yorkhill Children's Hospital in Glasgow among other hospitals in the UK, until 1975, when he got his fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He came back to Egypt to work as a lecturer in Al Azhar University in 1975. He went back to the UK in 1977 and worked as a senior registrar with professor Lewis Spitz in Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1979 (which was at that time the most prestigious children's hospital in the UK). He learnt pediatric urology from its founders in the UK, Sir David Innes William and Eckstein.
He worked as a consultant in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill) in Glasgow and was an honorary clinical lecturer in Glasgow University from 1980 until 2004 when he retired. He was highly respected and was elected as Chairman of the Medical Staff Association from 1988 to 1991 and was a Member of British Association of Paediatric Surgeons Executive Committee from 1993 to 1996. He has made major contributions to the fields of pediatric urology and pediatric oncology.
He was coeditor of three international books on pediatric surgical emergencies, hypospadias surgery, and surgery of childhood tumors. He wrote 12 chapters in textbooks and published more than 120 papers in peer reviewed International Journals. He chaired many international sessions and contributed to many British and Egyptian meetings as well as being invited guest speaker in many countries all over the world.
Many postgraduates, in particular a number from Egypt were the beneficiaries of substantial time and effort which Amir put into their training and subsequent progress. The establishment of a long-term training program between pediatric surgical units in various Egyptian universities and and Royal hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow has helped to bring the Egyptian pediatric surgery to a highly competitive international standard.
Major clinical and scientific contribution was not the only unique character of Mr Amir Azmy. Above all, he was a unique example of a humble, caring, modest father and mentor. He treated his students as his sons until they finish their trainings and then as brothers and part of his family. We, his students learnt from him and his colleagues respect and love to our colleagues. In fact his students who were trained in Glasgow kept a long lasting friendship.
Amir Azmy was more an Egyptian than many Egyptians living in Egypt. He was always willing to help Egyptian trainees whenever he had a chance. He always attended all the Egyptian Pediatric Surgical association and many other meetings. He continued to come to Egypt after retiring from the National Health Service in UK to operate in Egyptian hospitals. His house was always open to his trainees to the extent that he was called the ‘Egyptian mayor of Glasgow’. Together with some highly professional Egyptians in Glasgow, he established the ‘Egyptian community in Glasgow’. A fine example of superior and ideal Egyptian community based on respect, care, and love of the motherland, Egypt. He was elected as the president of the Egyptian community in UK when he moved down to London after retirement to be close to his son and daughter.
Amir was blessed with a wonderful family. His talented and dedicated wife, Dr Fatma Mohsen was a talented consultant radiologist before retirement. His daughter Dr Iman is a dedicated breast surgeon in UK and his son Ayman is in Media business in London. He adored his two grand children. Amir was a loving husband and a caring father and grandfather who would give everything for his family.
Another unique character of Amir was his artistic talent. He was a great painter. In fact as a junior resident in Pediatric surgery department in Ain Shams University, he made a sculpture and donated it to the department with his signature. He was keen to stop his love in operating and helping children to go back to his beloved hobby of drawing and painting. Photography was another special hobby and talent. As an appreciation of his talent in photography, he was considered a special talented photographer of the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons.
When we consider the multiple effect of treating many children who became well and became active members of their society and the multiple effect of training junior pediatric surgeons who in turn treated many children and trained other pediatric surgeons, we would appreciate how great Amir Azmy was and that his human, clinical, and scientific contribution to mankind will last forever.
The Azmy family have suffered an enormous loss with the passing of Amir and the thoughts of all his colleagues in Glasgow, Egypt, and elsewhere are with them. We remind them of how many of us have been assisted by the outstanding help Amir was to patients and all staff and colleagues.
God said in the Holy Quran ‘What is useless fades away like froth and what is useful to Mankind will remain on Earth’ (chapter Thunder, item 17).
God bless him in Heaven.
On behalf of his mentors and students
Ahmed T Hadidi
Ahmed M Zaki