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“Never Give Up”: Professor Shigeto Ikeda, 1925–2001

Prakash, Udaya B. S. M.D.


Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Bronchology

Mayo Medical School and

Mayo Medical Center

Rochester, Minnesota, USA

“Never Give Up” was the credo to which Professor Shigeto Ikeda (Fig. 1) adhered throughout his life. It is also the title of his autobiography. In the preface to his autobiography, Professor Ikeda observes that these words were uttered by Mr. Mori, who while sailing alone in his yacht from Hawaii in June 1994, met with an accident, became shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean, and returned alive after drifting around the Philippines for 73 days. This spirit of “Never Give Up” seems to have guided Professor Ikeda in his illustrious career as the father of modern bronchoscopy and main instigator of the field of interventional pulmonology.

FIG. 1.

FIG. 1.

Professor Ikeda's death on December 25, 2001, shocked the world of pulmonology. Despite the knowledge that Professor Ikeda was fighting multiple medical problems, the news of his demise was unexpected and was met with sadness. Until the end, Professor Ikeda's mind was active in its pursuit of new ideas to apply to bronchology and interventional pulmonology.

Professor Ikeda's personal experience as a tuberculous patient in his medical school days motivated him to pursue a career in pulmonology and thoracic surgery. His supreme devotion to the study of lung diseases ultimately led him to develop the flexible bronchoscope and devise clinical applications for it. The introduction of the flexible bronchoscope revolutionized the study of the respiratory system and the ailments that affected it. The physical principles applied during the evolution of the flexible bronchoscope were translated eventually to other developments, such as the duodenal endoscope, cholangioscope, mediastinoscope, and other fiberoptic instruments. Professor Ikeda was instrumental in the early work of the development of the video bronchoscope, medical video imaging, application of holography to teach airway anatomy, bronchography, and bronchoscopic diagnosis and therapy of bronchogenic cancer. Based on his extensive research experience, Professor Ikeda classified the tracheobronchial anatomy and named the bronchi down to the subsegmental level.

During the mid 1970s, Professor Ikeda founded the World Association for Bronchology and thus began the formal teaching of topics in interventional pulmonology. His organization of biennial World Congresses for Bronchology brought together the leaders in interventional pulmonology to discuss the latest developments in the field. Both the novices and experts have gained much from these congresses and their association with Professor Ikeda. Professor Ikeda's work was widely recognized, and he was the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors bestowed on him by many nations and institutions. His presence at scientific meetings produced an electrifying aura. His omnipotent presence will be missed at these meetings. However, his many works in the form of textbooks, papers, and atlases will continue to stimulate physicians interested in bronchology.

In his autobiography, Professor Ikeda states, “I hope that I should try to live as long as possible without any fear for the death, with the best understanding of my clinical condition and should do as much work as I can do for the public.” Those who knew him well, recognize that he accomplished this in the most admirable manner.

The Journal of Bronchology and the members of the World Association for Bronchology and the American Association for Bronchology hereby send their condolences to Mrs. Taeko Ikeda and her children.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.