About ASN

Kirpal Singh Chugh, MD

January 1, 1932 - September 17, 2017

Dr. Kirpal Singh Chugh, fondly referred to as the "father of nephrology" in India, passed away on Sunday. He was 85.

Belonging to Patti in Tarn Taran, he was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, in 2000.

Dr. Chugh, a professor emeritus and former head of the Nephrology Department at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, was diagnosed with blood cancer (multiple myeloma) roughly two years back.

He would often say after doing his MBBS from Government Medical College, Patiala, at 23, that he wanted to do his MD thesis in chronic kidney disease, but it was not a specialty recognized by the researchers. He was rejected three times. Finally a dean of Panjab University said, "This boy is mad, let him do whatever he wants to do."

Then he wrote his seminal work on nephrology in 1958, which he would tell "was the first systematic study in the field of kidney diseases in India. In 1961, it enabled him to become the first "qualified" nephrologist in the country.

Dr. Chugh is fondly called the "father of nephrology" in India for single-handedly first separating this discipline from medicine and then developing this into a super-specialty in the country.

He produced a total 72 DM (Doctorates in Medicine) in his career of three decades at PGIMER before he retired in 1993. Many of them are now world famous in the field of nephrology.

He also set up the first Department of Nephrology at the PGIMER, Chandigarh, and established the first nephrology super-specialty training programme in 1969. He has trained and mentored several generations of nephrologists who are now leaders in nephrology in India and many parts of the world.

Earlier, the National Kidney Foundation of the USA had considered Dr. Chugh's contributions to the renal community in India as "most outstanding" and the International Society of Nephrology has included him amongst the first 50 legends in Nephrology. He is the first Indian to receive the Bywaters Award by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN).

He is survived by both sons, Dr Suman Chugh, a nephrologist, and Dr Sumeet Chugh, a cardiologist, who are settled in the US.

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