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Table of Contents  
EDITORIAL
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-3  

Tribute to the departed editor of anesthesia essays and researches: Professor Mohamed Taha Al-Jasser


1 Executive Editor, Anesthesia Essays and Researches, Amman, Jordan
2 Editor in Chief MB, Chb, FFARCSI, Amman, Jordan
3 Department of Anesthesiology, King Khaled University Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Anesthesiology, King Faisal Specialty Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission29-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance01-Mar-2020
Date of Web Publication22-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Ragad Mani Takrouri
Executive Editor, Anesthesia Essays and Researches, Amman
Jordan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aer.AER_20_20

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How to cite this article:
Takrouri RM, Takrouri MS, Al-Jasser MM, Alsatli R. Tribute to the departed editor of anesthesia essays and researches: Professor Mohamed Taha Al-Jasser. Anesth Essays Res 2020;14:1-3

How to cite this URL:
Takrouri RM, Takrouri MS, Al-Jasser MM, Alsatli R. Tribute to the departed editor of anesthesia essays and researches: Professor Mohamed Taha Al-Jasser. Anesth Essays Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 26];14:1-3. Available from: http://www.aeronline.org/text.asp?2020/14/1/1/287397

In honor of the late Prof. Mohamed Taha Al-Jasser,[1] one of the pioneers in anesthesia and an editor in Anesthesia Essays and Researches, the editor-in-chief invited three doctors to write a tribute about him and his achievements.


   Dr. Ragad M. S Mani Takrouri, Mbbs Top


My interest in the life of Dr. Al-Jasser came from his book “Anesthesia: Essays on its history in Islamic Medicine and Arab world, where I found these captions that demonstrate how he came to be a pioneer in anesthesia.[2]

Prof. Al-Jasser wrote his biography (and accounts) on anesthesia in Syria.

He started it by saying:

“I wasn't thinking that I would be an Anesthesiologist, rather my aspirations where to become a Psychiatrist or a Neurologist. During my high school, my teacher had encouraged me after reading some essays that I have written about Psychiatry, and marked them as 'worth publishing'. In 1950, I enrolled in the Medical Faculty at the University of Istanbul. Afterwards, when I was deciding on my specialty of choice, I was advised against going into Psychiatry by advisors for the lack of positions and facilities to conduct these specialties in Syria. In 1960, the Secretary General of the Ministry of health, who was a family relative, suggested the idea of obtaining a scholarship from the World Health Organization (W. H. O.) in Copenhagen, Denmark-which was available for Syrian doctors who wished to specialise in Anesthesia. After applying to the W. H. O. program, they replied and advised me to earn my initial training in my country before I could join their specialty program by 1962. Therefore, I contacted the only anaesthetist at that time in Aleppo, Dr. Taha Isaac Kayali, who has previously received his medical degree in 1948 from Damascus University and continued his specialty training in the same W. H. O. program previously in Copenhagen and worked in the National Hospital (AlWatani).”[1]

Dr. Al-Jasser had the chance to train in the National Hospital and in Al Razi Hospital. At that time, the practice of anesthesia was conducted by nuns, dentist, anesthetists, and two medical doctors, Dr. Mukarbaneh and Dr. Anwar Al-Humsani. In Al Razi Hospital, nurses used to give anesthesia for surgical operations. The inhalational agents used were Cyclopropane, ether with Schimmelbusch, and Trilene. The spotlight on the practice of anesthesia at that time was the induction with intravenous (i.v.) thiopentone, and then giving gallamine, a muscle relaxant. Afterward, monitoring was done by feeling the pulse of the patient every 5 min. As a response to a question by Dr. Al-Jasser to the French nun nurse, Theodare, thiopentone 5% (i.v.) was injected until respiration ceased, and then a muscle relaxant was given. This led Dr. Al-Jasser to consider it a crude experience, not based on scientific titration of the drug because the drug dose effect was not dependent on the body weight calculation.

Dr. Al-Jasser was exposed to systemic training opportunities in major hospitals in Copenhagen, including Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet). During that period, he was introduced to the use of halothane and succinylcholine, automatic ventilators such as Engstrom, and postoperative care units. As described by Dr. Al-Jasser, the training was not only successful but also included variable subspecialties of surgery and multinational participants. He received a diploma in Anesthesia after he had successfully passed the required examinations. After his return to Aleppo, he was put in charge of the anesthesia section in the surgical department in Al-Razi Hospital, where he introduced halothane and succinylcholine and was able to train nurses and anesthesia technicians while simultaneously setting up a postoperative care unit. On the other hand, he started to build up international relationships with the W. H. O personnel and nursing schools in Aleppo, where he significantly improved the curriculum by suggesting the instillation of Anesthesia, Psychology, and English language courses for students. He also wrote the first anesthesia book in Arabic and other scientific books for medical and nursing students. His participation in professional and academic activities, through exchanging experiences with modern drugs, made a huge impact on the relationships between departments in different cities in Syria.

In 1965, Dr. Al-Jasser attended the Anesthesia Conference in Alexandria, Egypt, where he presented his study on GamaOH, a drug that was used for i.v. induction at that time. He showed the shortcomings of the prolonged recovery in short operations and the lack of analgesic effect of this drug. During the dinner that followed, Sir Robert Macintosh approached Dr. Al-Jasser and expressed how impressed he was with the remarkable study and offered to help him receive a scholarship from the W. H. O, in order to come to the department of Anesthesia in Oxford University, for faculty of anesthesia fellowship training.

He received the scholarship in 1969 and started primary and secondary preparation for the fellowship examinations. In January 1972, Dr. Al-Jasser successfully passed the second part of the fellowship examination and obtained Fellow of the Faculty of Anesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons, now known as Fellow of the Royal College of Anesthetists (FRCA). During his fellowship, he was in connection with Prof. Pryce Robert who was a well-known cardiac anesthesiologist. This allowed Dr. Al-Jasser to watch the ongoing researches in the department and helped him organize similar activities when he returned back to Aleppo. In addition, Prof. Al-Jasser was able to maintain worthy ties with the department personnel, such as Professor Pryce Robert, Professor Anthony Adams, and Professor Hahn Clive and kept the connection even after leaving Oxford, by inviting Professor Anthony Adams to meet the Arabic anesthesiologists during the 5th Panarab Congress on Anesthesia and Intensive Care in Damascus, Syria [Figure 1]. It is also worth mentioning that Prof. Al-Jasser did attend the 1st Panarab congress that was held in Amman, Jordan, in 1985. He appeared among the delegates when a picture was taken during the congress.[3]
Figure 1: Prof. Mohamad Taha Al-Jasser during the 5th Panarab Congress on Anesthesia and Intensive Care in 1993, Damascus, Syria

Click here to view


After his return to Aleppo, he joined the faculty of medicine at Aleppo University in Syria, where he updated the equipment that was used in anesthesia and in the intensive care unit (I.C.U) at the university hospital, as well as to two other hospitals that he was in charge of, Al Kindi Hospital and Aleppo Private Hospital. He was promoted to Professor in 1975 and managed to create an independent anesthesia department in different hospitals in 1980. The work of Prof. Al-Jasser and his colleagues, some of the most prominent names in the Arab world of Anesthesiology, made the development of anesthesia possible. Since the recognition of the certification granted by the Arab Board of Anesthesia as proof of specialty training, the quality of practice has been significantly elevated and allowed Arab doctors not only to receive the highest postgraduate certificate but also allowed their promotion in their professorial and academic positions [Figure 2].
Figure 2: The first executive meeting of the Arab Board Examination Committee in Damascus, Syria 1993. From right: Professor Mohamad Abdullah Seraj, Professor Mohammad Hamed Shaker, Professor Mohamed Taha Al-Jasser (President), Professor Mofeed Jokhadar (Secretary General of the Arab Board Program), Professor Sadiq Khabba

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   Dr. Masoun Al-Jasser's Tribute to Her Late Father Top


It is with great sorrow to write a tribute to my father Prof. Mohammed Taha Al-Jasser.

Where should I start describing his long walk through his aspiration-filled life in Aleppo-Syria?

My father was born in 1928 and lived a glorious life filled with challenges until he passed away in 2019. At the age of 13, he lost his father. Despite his aspirations, he had no choice but to quit school and start working in any possible available work position as the primary bread earner to his family. He continued his home schooling and managed to earn a preparatory certificate then a secondary schooling certificate of education. He then was able to get to Istanbul in Turkey where he graduated in 1957 with a medical degree. In 1960, he started working in the ministry of public health and later became a general practitioner in the National Hospital in Aleppo. Afterward, he was offered a training scholarship by the W. H. O in Copenhagen. Later, he was granted a scholarship in Oxford University. Soon after he returned to Aleppo in 1971, he was appointed as the head of the department of Anesthesiology in Al-Razi Hospital and also became the director of nursing school. His interest in publications led him to write his first scientific book of Anesthesia in Arabic, which was extremely useful for basic and clinical university students. In addition to his numerous contributions to medicine, he helped set up the first I.C.U in Syria and was the founder and the chairman of the Syrian Society of Cancer in Aleppo.


   Dr. Raed Alsatli, Consultant Anesthesiologist in King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Top


I am honored by this respected Journal (Anesthesia Essay and Research) to write this tribute in the memory of my teacher Prof. Taha Al-Jasser who passed away in January 2019. Professor Al-Jasser worked hard to pass his personal experience to other people and benefit generations of scientists, physicians, and anesthesiologists. His scientific knowledge was present in many publications and books which enriched the scientific literature. He persistently put great efforts into constructing a functional teaching system in anesthesia specialty in Syria and the Arab Board. Also, he had many achievements in his professional and academic career, which make him one of the pioneers in anesthesia not only in Syria but also in the Arab world. As a chairperson of the anesthesia department in 1985, although his academic responsibilities in the Medical Faculty of the University of Aleppo were enormous, he established the department of anesthesia and made it one of the most successful departments nationally.

Due to his constant efforts as the president of the Arab Board of Anesthesia, Prof. Al-Jasser and his colleagues in the Arab Board worked hard to enroll anesthesia residents in Syria in the Arab Board Program for anesthesia, and provided for these residents excellent opportunities for high- quality training and certification.

Prof. Al-Jasser published the first comprehensive academic anesthesia book for undergraduates in Arabic, which is still used by anesthesia residents and fellows. In addition to his book “Principles of Anesthesiology and Resuscitation,” published in 1964, and his lectures in Anesthesiology and Resuscitation, Professor Al-Jasser has also published other books in other fields such as history and politics like Turkey: the area of conflict between East and West.

I consider myself lucky to be one of the professor Al-Jasser's students. My first contact with Prof. Al-Jasser was during my 2nd year of medical school in Aleppo. He was teaching us Inorangic Chemistry during our basic medical years. In my 5th year, he taught us Anesthesiology. The knowledge he had in the different fields of medicine and science was remarkable. He expanded my knowledge about Anesthesia, which grew with time until I took Anesthesiology as my profession in life. I also visited him in his clinic for pain management in Aleppo because he was the first anesthesiologist who practiced pain management not only in Syria but also in the Arab world.

The academic and professional achievements of Prof. Al-Jasser will continue to make him a legend in Syria and the Arab world. His contribution in all aspects in the field of Anesthesia will be remembered for a long time with honor and great respect by the current generation of anesthesiologist and physicians, and the generations that are yet to come.

Acknowledgment

Dr. Jumana Baaj: Communicating with the Al-Jasser family on our behalf.

 
   References Top

1.
Takrouri MS. Prof. Mohamed Taha Al-Jasser (1928-2019). Anesth Essays Res 2019;13:699.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
“Anesthesia: Essays on its history in Islamic Medicine and Arab world.” (Arabic) Published by Dar Al-Fikr. Damascus, Syria.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Takrouri MS, Abass M. In memory of departed editor of AER Burhan Adeen Alabed (1922-2014). Anesth Essays Res 2015;9:3-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
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