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South African Journal of Surgery

On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361

S. Afr. j. surg. vol.53 n.1 Cape Town Mar. 2015




Robert Maurice André Giraud




André and I first met while we were both medical students at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. We became firm friends, sharing a great interest in squash. For some 40 years we had a weekly match on Friday afternoons at Hillbrow Hospital.

André was born in 1924 on the island of Mauritius, where he went to school and, in his senior years, won the classics scholar award for English, French, Greek and Latin.

In 1964 he enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the Wit-watersrand for an MB BCh, graduating in 1951. After his internship, under the auspices of the French Medical Services, he spent 6 months in various hospitals in Paris doing postgraduate clinical studies in surgery. From 1958 to 1962, he worked in England and Scotland, passing the FRCS examination in Edinburgh in 1962.

He returned to South Africa, starting his surgical career as a medical officer, and reached the post of principal surgeon at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in 1970. He was then transferred to Hillbrow Hospital to become the acting head of the clinical department until his retirement in 1989.

André received the Davis and Grek Research Scholarship in both 1984 and 1985. He was awarded the title of associate professor of surgery for his outstanding work. I quote from a letter written by Prof. R Charlton, the acting vice-chancellor and principal, dated 29 March 1985:

'This honour marks your meritorious service in the work and teaching in the Department of Surgery, and the University as a whole, and it reflects the high esteem in which you are held by your colleagues. Please accept my warmest congratulations.'

The university always needs people to work on its various committees, and André responded to this need by serving on several.

His research work, both in the laboratory and in the clinical setting, resulted in 28 publications in recognised journals and books. His research was also reported at many meetings - at the Surgical Research Society, the Biennial Congress of the Association of Surgeons of South Africa, and others.

André was a most compassionate doctor. He lived for his patients and would do all that was possible to help them regain their health. He was loved by his nursing staff as well as by his patients, and he was deeply respected by his colleagues.

André played a significant role in the training of many surgeons in South Africa. Through them, his passion for his profession will live on.

Above all, André was a family man. He leaves behind his adored wife Cathy and their three delightful daughters Mari-Clair, Nicole and Michele, as well as five grandchildren.

With André's death, we have lost someone who was a role model for all of us. May he rest in peace.

H H Lawson

Emeritus Professor, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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