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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 200-202  

Anesthesia in Saudia Arabia - Twentieth century Abdul Hamid Al Kurdi (1920-1991) anesthetist technician (transit to full-physician-based anesthesia administration)

Derpartment of Anesthesia, College of Medicine and King Khalid University, Hospital KSU, P. O. Box 2925, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication11-Mar-2013

Correspondence Address:
Mohaimen Abdolhamid Alkurdi
Department of Anesthesia, (41), College of Medicine and King Khalid University. Hospital KSU, P.O. Box 2925, Riyadh 11461
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0259-1162.108318

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Dr. Mohaimen Alkurdi narrates his father the anesthesia technician of the last century as he worked and taught anesthesia in Riyadh.

Keywords: Abdulhamid Alkurdi, anesthesia history Modern 20 th century Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Abdulla Seraj

How to cite this article:
Alkurdi MA. Anesthesia in Saudia Arabia - Twentieth century Abdul Hamid Al Kurdi (1920-1991) anesthetist technician (transit to full-physician-based anesthesia administration). Anesth Essays Res 2012;6:200-2

How to cite this URL:
Alkurdi MA. Anesthesia in Saudia Arabia - Twentieth century Abdul Hamid Al Kurdi (1920-1991) anesthetist technician (transit to full-physician-based anesthesia administration). Anesth Essays Res [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Mar 31];6:200-2. Available from:

   Introduction Top

The authors take the opportunity of recently published article on services rendered by two Saudi anesthesiologists in the last century [1],[2] to mention that one anesthetist technician was brought by Dr. Hani Sherbatly the surgeon to Saudi Arabia to work in prince Talal Bin Abdul-Aziz hospital in Riyadh to participate in operation on one VIP patient. Then he served for another 30 years. Authors are showing his background training in that era and demonstrate a unique picture taken onthe day of his retirement. This picture of retirement party two physician anesthesiologists: The newly arriving Dr. Mohamed A. Seraj and Dr. Medhat Sallam from Alexandria. This historical picture demarked the moment of transition between generations and level of anesthesia practice. It is a relevant historical account of our departed anesthetist technician. So the junior author (son of Mr. Abdul Hamid Al Kurdi) puts an intellectual effort in researching the names and data about his father.

   Historical Report Top

Abdul Hamid Alkurdi was born in the year 1920 in Alzabadani a town west of the Damascus city in Syria. In 1934, at the age of 14, he has to be the bread winner due to his father's death; he was a child just finishing his primary and intermediate general education has to get a paying education so he went to interviews to select fire fighters or anesthesia technicians so he was selected to Syrian ministry of health to be trained as anesthesiology technician. His basic education was in Zabadani, then Ibn Khaldoun in Damascus, and then technical boy boarded school interrupted to enter practice of anesthesia. He was trained and allocated to MOH hospitals of Damascus as follows: Sadat hospital (Altawfeek hospital) for 10 years. He spent 1 year in Almidaan hospital, South of Damascus, and 2 years in the national Hospital (Alghourabaa) in the north of Damascus. He then went to Douma surgical hospital for 8 years.

During that period, he was trained and worked to give ether in open drop using the Schmelbusch mask with cotton and gauzes. Applying this to both adult and children.

He travelled to Saudi Arabia as requested by the surgeon Hani Sharabati who facilitated him with visa from Saudi consulate in Damascus to come to prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz in Riyadh (King Abdul Aziz University hospital presently). He helped in operation of VIP with success and after departing to Damascus he returned to the same hospital to wark and teach technicians in the health institute. He spent 30 years of good work, from 1059-1989. On his retirement, he was honored by the administration and doctors like Dr. M. A. Seraj and Medhat Sallam [Figure 1],[Figure 2],[Figure 3],[Figure 4],[Figure 5] and [Figure 6].
Figure 1: A. H. Alkurdi Young 1959

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Figure 2: AH Kurdi `1989

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Figure 3: King AbdulAziz Hospital Riyadh

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Figure 4: 1960es: Kirdi Anesthetizing

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Figure 5: Retiring AH Kurdi 1989

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Figure 6: AH Kurdi, MA Seraj and M Sallam at farewellparty at KAAUH 1989

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   Discussion Top

Looking at the last century development of surgical services and development of anesthesia in KSA an evolving picture as more documentation of history was tackled and displayed. It was partially mentioned in two pan-Arab congresses and in many historical reports. In the surgical services that were offered to the pilgrimage, first-aid surgery was offered and surgeon-administered local anesthesia was practiced; inhalation anesthesia given by assistant included chloroform and ether. By 1956, Egyptian anesthesiologists were engaged in the services of ministry of health. Dr. Sayed Elrayyes worked in Jeddah, Dr. Kamal Gallab was advisor in anesthesiology, and Dr. Mohammed Rifat.

By 1957, Dr. M. I. Al Khawashki originally from Al Quds in Palestine was the first neutralized Saudi to get training in anesthesia through WHO in Vienna 36. By 1962, he started as anesthesia assistant technician. Mr. Abdul Hamid Alkurdi "according to his son report and authors finding" was located in-between old arrangements and new highly focused deliberate advancement of anesthesia. In Alkurdi's retirement party picture Dr. M. A. Seraj then the new comer appeared with Dr. Medhat Sallam training.

The Kingdom started an ambitious program for higher education; by 1967, Riyadh Medical College at King Saud University was established and was affiliated to University of London. King Abdul-Aziz in Jeddah opened its medical school, and so did King Faisal University of Dammam in 1975. The latest addition was the medical school at Abha 1980. The academic anesthesia had its major impact on the local, regional, and international anesthesia practice. That was practiced through scientific contact with the world, through exchange visits, conferences researches, and publication.

Dr. Mohamed A. Seraj was the first highly qualified Saudi doctor to become anesthesiologist [1] and to become the first professor of anesthesia in the Kingdom. He was instrumental for various local and international venues. The university department he chaired included among its members many prominent anesthesiologists of the world. He initiated residency programs for the diploma of fellowship at King Saud University, Saudi Fellowship, and Arab Board in anesthesia serving as a general secretary. He founded and chaired The Saudi Anesthesia Association and edited its well-known newsletter. He participated in the Pan Arab committees for the congress and Arab Board. He is one of pacemakers for many national Gulf and Pan Arab Congresses. Participated in many international activities on resuscitation and emergency medicine including current activities in WFSA. Dr. Dhafer Al Khudairy is the first full time cardiac anesthesiologist in the Kingdom. He was an instrument in the development of the cardiac surgery facilities in Riyadh. His contribution to researches, academic, and service activities are noticeable. He included as an examiner in the Irish College of the anesthesiologists, Arab Board, King Saud Fellowship Diploma and Saudi Board, Other names of first generation Saudi Anesthesiologists include S Marzoogi, A.mazrooah W. Yafi, A.HAl Said. And H Bakhamees. There are many expatriates who served and worked in the kingdom from other nations. Names such as P Bromage, V. Mogensen M Nagiub, M Vickers, Seed, and others who either gave consultation or worked clinically in the field of anesthesiology and intensive care. This should be documented in further researches.

   References Top

1.Seraj MA. Two Saudi anesthesiologists who served anesthesia in KSA in the last century. Anesth Essays Res [serial online] 2011;5:3-4. Available from:[Last cited on 2011 Nov 11].  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Al-Khawashki MI. Anaesthesia in Saudi Arabia: Development, problems, present status. Middle East J Anaesthesiol 1979;5:149-54.  Back to cited text no. 2


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6]


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