Lives of the fellows

Yasser Rabia Haider

b.4 October 1961 d.30 December 2016
MB BS All India Institute of Medical Sciences(1984) MRCP(1988) FRCP(2002)

Yasser Haider was a consultant cardiologist in Warwick. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of Rabia Haider, a Lebanese diplomat, and Huda Haider, a housewife. His early experience at boarding school made him strong and independent from a very young age. At the age of 24 he lost his father, whom he loved very much, and subsequently felt a huge responsibility towards his mother and two younger brothers. He was a brilliant student and in 1984 graduated from the elite All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi as the top student of his year, the first foreigner to do this.

He then completed a year as an intern and another year as a junior resident, before moving to the UK in 1986. He began as a house officer in Boston, Lincolnshire, after which he moved to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for his senior house officer post for two years. He did his first registrar job in Torquay in 1989. He then moved to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where he started his training in cardiology. He joined the cardiology unit at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester in 1992, where he formed enduring personal and professional relationships.

In 1996 he joined George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton as a consultant cardiologist and set up the brady-pacing service for patients in north Warwickshire in 1997. He was a true general cardiologist, equally proficient in all aspects of cardiology – from imaging to intervention and from heart failure to cardiac pacing. Yasser was a popular consultant with all his peers, junior doctors and nurses. He was an excellent patient-centred physician. He approached his patients with humility and humour in equal measure. He was always calm and professional and never lost his cool, but most importantly he was trusted by his patients.

He was equally committed to his family responsibilities and in 2006 he took up his second consultancy post at Warwick Hospital, which had a larger pool of consultants, believing this would allow him to spend more time with his young family. He rapidly gained respect and affection at Warwick, going on to become associate medical director for four years.

Yasser was known for his tenacity in pursuing answers to questions and his unflinching integrity in challenging conventional norms of practice. His favourite place at work was the catheter lab, where his humour, sarcasm and sharp wit was at its best. Yasser always did the right thing and was never motivated by money or personal gains. He was one of the most honest people you could ever meet. He was the voice of reason, fairness and integrity, with a clear sense of loyalty. He always looked at the bigger picture and wanted equality and fairness across the board.

He took leave from Warwick Hospital due to ill health in February 2015 when he was diagnosed with gastric cancer. He never returned to work and retired in July 2016. He bore his illness in a very dignified manner, just as he lived his life, and fought it bravely until the very end. He always found peace and comfort in his very strong faith that supported him throughout his life.

Outside of medicine, Yasser was a keen sportsman. He was an ardent cyclist and a very loyal supporter of Derby County Football Club for over 40 years. He watched his last match excitedly in hospital.

Yasser also played bridge, not as an idle pastime but as a fierce competitor, an addict of the game. He played with considerable skill and success in local events, representing Leicestershire in the English county championships. Over many years, he won a lot of trophies, including the Leicestershire league on numerous occasions. He was so passionate about the game he played his last match as late as the end of November 2016.

He shared his hobbies with his young sons and enjoyed listening to classical music and especially loved Ludovico Einaudi’s music. Yasser was fluent in Arabic and English and understood French. He also spoke Hindi, which he learned in India. Yasser was very touched by the needy around him and supported numerous charities throughout his working life.

He was a wonderful husband and a very loving father. Yasser was a fine doctor and the very best kind of human being. His legacy is truly inspirational. He is very deeply missed by his family and all who loved him. He was survived by his wife Sana, whom he married in 1998, and his two sons, Hassan and Dani.

Asok Venkataraman

(Volume XII, page web)

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