Lives of the fellows

Momir Macanovic

b.2 January 1938 d.23 April 2007
MD Sarajevo(1962) MSc(1969) PhD Lond(1973) FRCP(1999)

Momir Macanovic was a distinguished nephrologist who worked in Bosnia (in the former Yugoslavia), the UK and the United Arab Emirates. He suffered multiple misfortunes throughout his personal and professional life, but never allowed them to diminish or disrupt his determination, integrity and commitment, nor his uniquely calm temperament and good humour.

He was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the son of Ilisa, a teacher, and Miloska, a civil servant, and went to school and university in the city. After training in general and renal medicine, Momir became a consultant at the University Hospital there in 1969. His research interests in immunological aspects of kidney disease brought him to the UK in 1970, where he studied for a PhD at Hammersmith Hospital in the unit led by Sir Keith Peters. His PhD was awarded by the University of London in 1973. He undertook further research attachments in Cambridge (from 1978 to 1979 with Peter Lachmann) and in Paris (from 1980 to 1981).

Meanwhile, his progress in Sarajevo was rapid, becoming professor in the medical faculty in 1984, dean in 1985 and president of the Committee of Health of Bosnia (effectively the health minister) in 1987. He published widely, making significant contributions to the study of autoimmune kidney diseases and also of the endemic nephropathy (so-called ‘Balkan endemic nephropathy’), which afflicts his home region.

Life in Bosnia in the twentieth century was inevitably complex: Momir’s father had been taken during the Second World War and his family again suffered severe privations during the civil war in the early 1990s, and were forced to leave Bosnia as refugees in 1992. He went back to Cambridge, again working with Peter Lachmann and also undertaking clinical work at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He later became consultant nephrologist in Dorchester and then spent the last few years of his working life as a nephrologist in Abu Dhabi.

He married Katarina, also a physician, in 1963: they had two sons, both doctors. Momir was devoted to his family, of whom he was enormously proud. He died at home in Dorset after a short illness with rapid progression. He died as he had lived - with courage, humility and without bitterness. His colleagues, family and friends remember him as a distinguished academic clinician, as a teacher, researcher, administrator and colleague, but most of all as a remarkable human being.

Peter Mathieson

[The Renal Association eNews May 2007]

(Volume XII, page web)

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