Professor Namba passed away.

12.04.2017 | Category, Blog, Frontpage Article

Professor emeritus Dr Katsuya Namba passed away in November 2017.  He was the founder of Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan.  As a young surgeon, he studied at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.  Upon returning to Nagasaki, he established the first plastic surgery service in Japan.  He has trained numerous plastic surgeons, and retired from the University in early 90s.  Even after the retirement, he was very active in plastic surgery education.

When I was a 4th year medical student at Nagasaki University, I rotated plastic surgery service.  The field of plastic surgery was new to me.  I remember attending his cleft clinic, and surgery to repair the cleft, with fresh astonishment on how these procedures are done.  I was fascinated with the cleft surgery.  That experience prompted me to be a plastic surgeon, and I wanted to do cleft surgery.  I was debating between GYN or surgery, but after the rotation, the decision was made.  I joined Dept. of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Nagasaki University on June 1984.  I stayed for 2 years at the University Hospital, completing the internship requirement, and then left for the US to pursue residency training.  When I told him that I was planning to move to the US to get a residency in surgery and plastic surgery, he was very positive about the prospect, and encouraged me to pursue the career in the US.  Shortly after leaving, while I was applying for the California medical license, I encountered the problems with medical student clerkship hours during medical school, which did not satisfy the California requirements.  He kindly took me back to the medical school, and helped me to satisfy the requirements, which took almost 6 months.  Since then, once in a while, when I have a chance to return to Japan, I used to visit him and his wife in Nagasaki.  The last time I saw them is at a banquet in a hot spring in Kyushu several years ago.

The news of his passing is particularly emotional for me.  He was my mentor and he is the reason that I became a plastic surgeon.  I hope he is very proud of me.  I am happy to give back to the University, and contribute to the education of the future plastic surgeons.  God bless.