Phulchand Prithvi Raj, MD, Pioneer in Pain Management, Dies at 84
It is difficult, if not impossible, to recognize a greater contributor to the field of regional anesthesia and pain management. The Indian born Dr. Raj began his medical training at Mysore Medical College in India, and his illustrious career took him around the world. He was board certified in 4 separate medical specialties including, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology, and pain medicine.
His significant research contributions, countless articles, books, publications, and lectures proved him to be a world leader in pain management and regional anesthesia. He was a founding member of 3 of the most important societies in the field: the Texas Pain Society, American Society of Regional Anesthesia, and the World Institute of Pain.
Dr. Raj was dedicated to teaching those called to serve the complicated, suffering, and forgotten patients in medicine. He trained numerous residents and fellows, and was always available to impart further wisdom long after formal training was ended. I was one of the fortunate few to do a fellowship under Dr. Raj and Gabor Racz, MD. Either of these masters would be more than is necessary to form the foundation of a long pain management career, but their synergy was nearly indescribable.
Despite his encyclopedic knowledge, his greatest attributes were patience and kindness to both patient and trainee. In all my time under his tutelage, he never once showed frustration and always made me feel like he wouldn’t do absolutely everything it took to help me complete my learning and training.
All whom he touched have lost one of our greatest mentors. If you did not have the great fortune to learn from him, think again. Turn and look at your bookshelf, pain journals, and textbooks. Yep, that’s him, Dr. Raj, written on the spine of almost every volume of every meaningful textbook that we all refer to. He is and always will be right there, guiding us.
Dr. Raj is survived by his wife, Susan, his daughter, Maya Raj Andreadis, his son, Mark Raj, and grandchildren.
Andrew A. Konen, MD
Baylor Center for Pain Management
Texas A&M HSC-COM