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Posted at: Sep 18, 2017, 2:23 AM; last updated: Sep 18, 2017, 3:02 PM (IST)

Dr Kirpal Chugh, ‘father of nephrology’, passes away at 85

Dr Kirpal Chugh, ‘father of nephrology’, passes away at 85
Dr Kirpal Singh Chugh

Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17

Dr Kirpal Singh Chugh, fondly called the “father of nephrology” in India, passed away on Sunday. He was 85. The cremation will take place at noon tomorrow at the cremation ground in Sector 25 here.

Belonging to Patti in Tarn Taran, he was awarded the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award, in 2000.

Dr Chugh, a professor emeritus and former head of Nephrology Department at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, was diagnosed with blood cancer (multiple myeloma) around two years back.

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He would often say after doing his MBBS from Government Medical College, Patiala, at 23, that he wanted to do his MD thesis in chronic kidney disease. But it was not a specialty recognised by the researchers.

He was rejected thrice, till finally a dean of Panjab University said, “This boy is mad, let him do whatever he wants to do.”

Then he wrote his seminal work on nephrology in 1958, which he would tell “was the first systematic study in the field of kidney diseases in India”.

And in 1961, it enabled him to become the first “qualified” nephrologist in the country.

Dr Chugh is called “father of nephrology in India” for single-handedly first separating this discipline from medicine and then developing this into a super-specialty in the country.

He produced a total 72 DMs (Doctorate in Medicine) in his career of three decades at PGIMER before he retired in 1992. Many of them are now world famous in the field of nephrology.

Later, he set up the first Department of Nephrology at the PGIMER, Chandigarh. He had also established the first nephrology super-specialty training programme.

He trained and mentored several generations of nephrologists who are now leaders in nephrology in India and many parts of the world. The National Kidney Foundation of USA considered Dr Chugh’s contributions to the renal community in India as “most outstanding” and the International Society of Nephrology included him amongst the first 50 legends in nephrology the world over.

He was the first Indian to receive the Bywaters Award by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN). Both his sons, Dr Sumant Chugh, a nephrologist, and Dr Sumeet Chugh, a cardiologist, are settled in the US.

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