Obituary: Fuad Sami Haddad, 1924–2015

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Dr. Fuad Sami Haddad passed away on November 9, 2015 (Fig. 1). His death is a loss to the neurosurgical community everywhere and in particular Lebanon and the Middle East. He was a skilled neurosurgeon, prolific writer, mentor, and humanitarian. To him goes the credit of guiding many a budding physician to neurosurgery.

FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.

Dr. Fuad Sami Haddad. Copyright Georges Fuad Haddad. Published with permission. Figure is available in color online only.

Dr. Haddad attended the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon, as an undergraduate and received his MD in 1948. He completed his neurosurgery residency at the Montreal Neurological Institute and was a resident under Wilder Penfield. Upon his return to Lebanon in 1954, Fuad was the first neurosurgeon certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery to practice in the Middle East and, to the best of our knowledge, the entire Arab world. He held that unique honor for many years. He joined the faculty at AUB and served as Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery until 2012. Truly, Fuad was a pioneer neurosurgeon serving the entire Middle East.

During his years of practice, Dr. Haddad received patients from the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, the Levant, North Africa, Turkey, and Iran, to mention a few. Patients came from far and wide seeking his care and advice, which he provided willingly and often without charge. In his later years, he would pursue these patients to neighboring states in his study of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). He mentored, supported, and gave of his time and knowledge to many, stimulating the pursuit of neurosurgery. Many of his residents, past and present, came to the US for residency and are still practicing today. Those who come to mind include Ali Alaraj (University of Illinois, Chicago), Adnan Abla (University of Pittsburgh, PA), Mokbel Chedid (Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI), Nader Dahdaleh (Northwestern University, Chicago, IL), Hayan Dayoub (Camden, NJ), Patrick Hitchon (University of Iowa), Nicolas Kandalaft (University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX), Fairuz Matuk (Melbourne, FL), Jacques Morcos (University of Miami), the late Kamel Muakassa (Akron, OH), Nazih Moufarrij (Wichita, KS), Ray Sawaya (MD Anderson Center, Houston, TX), Naman Salibi (Saginaw, MI), and there are many more.

During the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), it became difficult for AUB graduates to come to the US for many reasons, including financial, political, and accreditation-related issues. Fuad, with a few of his colleagues, remained in Lebanon where they provided care, under duress, to the casualties of war, often without remuneration. At one point he remained the only neurosurgeon in West Beirut (the area he lived in), performing a record 14 craniotomies in the span of 60 hours! In spite of opportunities to relocate to the US or the Gulf countries in pursuit of a more comfortable and lucrative practice, he opted to stay in Beirut and continue to serve Lebanon and the Lebanese.

In spite of the hostile environment during the years 1975–1990, Dr. Haddad and his colleagues were able to create a neurosurgical residency program at AUB, which continues to this day. It provides training to residents from Lebanon and the Middle East. In spite of the difficult conditions of war, Dr. Fuad Haddad was able to acquire a vast repository of neurosurgical cases. His experience and publications on gunshot wounds to the brain, the spine, and posttraumatic aneurysms, acquired from the Lebanese Civil War, remain widely referenced landmarks. His inquisitive mind also led to numerous publications on subacute SSPE, coauthored with the late Winthrop Risk. Dr. Haddad was an authority on hydatid disease of the central nervous system, its diagnosis, and management. He also loved history, writing on neurosurgery in Lebanon, AUB, and residency training. His bibliography includes 163 papers published in leading journals in the Middle East, the US, and Europe.

The passing of Dr. Haddad is a loss to all who knew him. He was a leader and role model for many students and residents to proudly emulate. He embodied the knowledge, compassion, and service that transcended the boundaries of religion, race, and class. Fuad is survived by his beautiful and adoring wife, Aida; his six children—Georges, Souheil, Fadi, Nabih, Labib, and Janane; and 14 grandchildren. His sons Georges (American University of Beirut) and Souheil (Bloomington, IN) are also practicing neurosurgeons.


The authors report no conflict of interest.

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Article Information

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online January 27, 2017; DOI: 10.3171/2016.10.JNS162349.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



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    Dr. Fuad Sami Haddad. Copyright Georges Fuad Haddad. Published with permission. Figure is available in color online only.




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