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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.99 n.3 Pretoria Mar. 2009




Eric John Sanders



Eric John Sanders, born in Bloemfontein and educated in Johannesburg and Marist Brothers College, Rondebosch, joined the ICCT medical class which graduated in 1948 after serving in the South African Air Force in World War II. And so began a friendship which lasted 62 years during which I was greatly privileged to be his close friend, his anaesthesiologist, and even occasionally his patient.

He specialised with an Edinburgh surgical fellowship, adding to his surgical experience at Highgate and Romford hospitals in London. However, his deep enduring love for Africa ensured his return to 8 happy years as a general surgeon in many disciplines at the Nkana Mine Hospital in Kitwe, Northern Rhodesia as it was then known.

In 1964 he joined the surgical team at the King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban prior to entering private practice 2 years later, but still retaining his teaching post in the Department of Surgery for a further 25 years, during which time he adjudicated surgical Saturday morning seminars with Professors John Robbs and Haffejes.

In May 1998 he retired from private practice but continued teaching at the medical school, where the Department of Surgery awarded him the Distinguished Service Award in December 2006.

His attitude to his work was one of total integrity in every aspect and absolute devotion to the needs of his patients, setting an example which many students would hopefully follow. His enthusiasm extended far beyond the bounds of medicine, as many could testify who have seen his wildlife and particularly wild bird photographic efforts which are nothing short of masterpieces and which could be the envy of any professional.

Cruelly struck with Parkinson's disease 20 years ago, Eric accepted its inexorable progression with exemplary fortitude until his passing on 4 October 2008 in his 84th year.

A great family man and friend has gone.

We extend deepest sympathy to Margaret, his beloved wife of 56 years, and to their daughters Helen, Caroline and Natalie and their families which include 5 grandchildren.


Peter Maytom

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