ASRA Mourns the Passing of Dr. P. Prithvi Raj, Founding Father

Feb 29, 2016

Phulchand Prithvi Raj, Sept. 13, 1931-Feb. 27, 2016

Dr. Phulchand Prithvi Raj, one of ASRA's five founding fathers and an inspiration to generations of physicians, passed away on February 27. He was 84.

Dr. Raj is shown with Dr. Ken Candido and fellow Founding Father Dr. Alon Winnie.

Considered a pioneer in regional anesthesia and pain medicine[1] and the founding father of interventional pain management, Dr. Raj had a tremendous impact on the field, authoring numerous textbooks, producing instructional films, setting up pain clinics across the country—and world—and inspiring and mentoring countless physicians. He served as the second president of ASRA, from 1986-1987, and received the Gaston Labat Award in 1990, the ESRA Carl Koller award in 2000, the ASRA Distinguished Service Award in 2005, and the John Bonica Award in 2009.

"Dr. Prithvi Raj was a pioneer and innovator in the field of both regional anesthesia and pain medicine," said colleague Richard Rauck, MD. "He taught several generations of pain physicians in the United States and worldwide and truly served as mentor in so many of our lives, mine included."

Dr. Raj trained in India and England as well as at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, CT, and Parkland Memorial Hospital at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He practiced in Norway, England, Texas, California, Ohio, and Georgia. 

His research was in the field of drug metabolism, muscle relaxants, intravenous anesthesia, and the use of nerve stimulator for peripheral blocks. He described new approaches to infraclavicular and sciatic blocks, which now are known as the "Raj modification."[2]

Dr. Manchikanti Laxmaiah, chairman of the Board of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, described him as "a man of great wisdom, integrity, and kindness."

ASRA was fortunate to have the opportunity to recognize Dr. Raj's contributions on the occasion of the organization's 40th Anniversary in Las Vegas last year, where Dr. Raj shared his insights with the membership, including his ongoing desire for increased efforts to bring pain management techniques to developing countries. 

"He will be dearly missed but remembered always for all of his many notable contributions to our field," Rauck said.

Dr. Raj is survived by his wife, Susan, his daughter, Maya Raj Andreadis, his son, Mark Raj, and grandchildren.

Members of Dr. Raj's family joined him at the 40th Anniversary Celebration in May 2015, including his wife Susan (top) and daughter Maya (bottom).




References

  1. Nair L, Gieseck A. P. Prithvi Raj, MD, FFARCS: Regional anesthesia pioneer. Bull Anesth Hist. 2010 Apr; 28(1):7-11. 
  2. Ptaszynski AE, Horlocker TT, Bacon DR, Rowlingson JC. Alon P. Winnie, L. Donald Bridenbaugh, Jr., Harold Carron, P. Prithvi Raj, and Jordan Katz. Founding fathers of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia. Reg Anes Pain Med. 2006;31,71-8.