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Chandu Bardhan

(India & Jesus 1964) (16 August 1940 - 5 April 2023)

Touching tributes have been paid following the death of a “pioneering” professor and doctor dubbed the “grandfather of gastroenterology in South Yorkshire”.

Prof Karna Dev Bardhan OBE, known as Chandu, died peacefully on April 5 aged 82.

The Wickersley doctor was the first ever recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Society of Gastroenterology, which said it was “saddened” to hear of his passing, noting how he “inspired a generation of doctors both within South Yorkshire and way beyond”.

A Freeman of the Borough, Prof Bardhan was honoured as Rotherham Citizen of the Year in 2000 and awarded the OBE a year later.

The father of two and grandfather of three went on to set up a research unit and a family charity.

Born in India, he graduated from The Christian Medical College in Vellore, where he met his wife Gouri and was named an outstanding student of his year.

He came to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1964 before going on to become a registrar in Sheffield.

Gouri came to the UK to study in 1969 and the couple met again, before marrying in 1972.

They moved to Rotherham after Prof Bardhan became a consultant physician with an interest in gastroenterology, aged just 32, at the former Doncaster Gate Hospital in 1973, later going on to work at Rotherham Hospital.

He was the first gastroenterologist in Rotherham — as his field was not regarded as a speciality at the time — and went on to set up a research unit which became an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for gastrointestinal diseases.

Gouri, who worked as a consultant in Doncaster, said Prof Bardhan had worked with pharmaceutical companies and run clinical trials which showed test drug cimetidine was effective in relieving symptoms and healing stomach ulcers.

The drug went on to be extensively used to treat miners and steelworkers affected by the condition.

Prof Bardhan used the financial income this produced to fund PhD, MD and MSC students.

The research unit later became The Bardhan Research and Education Trust, which had 54 students by the time Prof Bardhan retired in 2011.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has also run The Bardhan Fellowship annual research prize for more than 20 years, and called Prof Bardhan the “grandfather of gastroenterology in South Yorkshire”, citing his “inspiration and guidance” for many of its own developments.

Post retirement, Prof Bardhan taught sessions on different clinical systems, enabling students to practise techniques and skills in a less pressured environment.

He also began his memoirs, working with his secretary Beverley Mason and writer Ray Hearne.

After he suffered a stroke last September, his wife teamed up with Beverley and Ray to produce the book, “An Improbable Journey in Medicine: A Story of Courage and Enterprise”, which was published by Amazon in March.

Gouri said: “Medicine meant a lot to him. He did what all the doctors tried to do, to treat the patient as a whole, not just a stomach or a colon as sometimes can happen.

“He was a pioneer in many, many ways but more importantly, he was kind, compassionate and he treated everybody equally.”

Rotherham Hospital chief executive Dr Richard Jenkins described Prof Bardhan as an “inspirational and dedicated consultant”, adding: “He will be greatly missed by many people.”