Lives of the fellows

Yousef Saleh Hamzeh

b.2 October 1939 d.?
MB BCH Cairo(1965) MRCP(1971) FRCP(1997)

Yousef Hamzeh was a bright, compassionate and energetic physician who pioneered services for patients with renal diseases and hypertension in Jordan. In a small country with limited resources, he was the first nephrologist to provide highly specialised care to patients with end-stage renal failure. He was born in Ramleh, Palestine, but emigrated with his family to Jordan as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He completed his high school education in Cairo in 1959 and qualified in medicine from Cairo University in 1965.

After a brief return to Jordan to practice medicine, he decided to pursue further training. His ambitions led him to the UK, where he completed his specialty training in internal medicine in 1972 and obtained his MRCP in 1971.

He returned to Jordan in 1972 as an internal medicine specialist at the Jordan Government Hospital. He was enthusiastic about giving back to the people of Jordan, but he sensed a striking lack of resources and expertise available to patients suffering from kidney diseases. It did not take long for him return to the UK, and in 1978 he began his training in nephrology.

Once he completed his training, and despite several offers to enter private practice in England, he returned to Jordan permanently. He joined the academic faculty at the University of Jordan Medical School in June 1979, and remained one of the most prominent figures at the medical school for nearly 30 years, until his death. He established Jordan’s first dialysis unit at the University Hospital, and he founded the first kidney transplant programme in the region.

He was recognised for his excellent and practical administrative skills, and his accurate and sharp clinical judgment, and even more so for his compassionate attentiveness to his patients. He often stated that his patients’ gratitude was the best reward. Patients sought his expertise from as far as Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

During his career, he held numerous national and regional positions, including chief of nephrology at the University of Jordan, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Jordan and examiner for the Arab Board. He taught and guided his students, residents and fellows with passion and humanism.

Outside medicine, he enjoyed reading, swimming and a good laugh. In a culture where your help as a physician was often expected for free by relatives, friends and acquaintances, Hamzeh never hesitated to offer the comfort of a helping hand.

He led a happy and fulfilled life, and he continued to work diligently up until the last few weeks of his illness. He is survived by his lifelong partner and wife Elizabeth, as well as his three sons - Nadeem, Nabeel and Belal.

Nabeel Hamzeh

(Volume XII, page web)

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