Bhagwan Khushaldas Samtani

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 09 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4221
  1. Richard Walters

Bhagwan Khushaldas Samtani, known as “Bhagu” and “Sam” at different times in his life, was a larger than life personality throughout his professional career.

Sam was born in Karachi of pre-partition India; his father was a civil engineer. Schooling included Poona College, and medical graduation, with two distinctions, was from Bombay Medical School. Sports were to be important in Sam’s younger life. He represented his college at both tennis and cricket, achieving captaincy in the latter, and an accolade as sportsman of the year. Ballroom dancing was another passion, leading to the winning of trophies.

British medical posts started at High Wycombe in 1955 and proceeded through successive posts, gaining wide experience but with cardiology a particular interest. Senior registrar experience at Northampton and Oxford in started in 1959. At Oxford he had training from Lionel Cosin,, an early “father” of the speciality of geriatric medicine. Records show unusually outstanding testimonials from his various seniors. It is noteworthy that Sam resigned from one post because a car was necessary but not affordable. In due course he purchased a Ford Anglia De Luxe, which, with extras such as two wing mirrors, cost £656.8.10d.

Sam’s service in Kettering General Hospital and district, as consultant in geriatric and general medicine, began on 1 June 1966 at the young age of 34. His energy was enormous, dealing with a considerable clinical workload in the administratively separated general and geriatric medical departments. The geriatric department, scattered on several sites, was developed along the progressive patient care model with necessary rationalisations. Competent staff were recruited to be involved in the multidisciplinary teams. Sam developed a reputation as a sound clinician notably among surgeons and in general practice. Administratively he took a turn as chairman in the Oxford region of the geriatric medical advisory committee.

He had a particular research interest in the presentation of pulmonary embolism as atrial tachyarrhythmias in elderly patients. In due course Sam’s collected series was published in the Scottish Medical Journal.

Health service reorganisations, then as now, came thick and fast. Sam, with two medical colleagues, produced a unique first when they were the three general managers of the newly created health service units in the Kettering District.

Busy people at work need outside interests. Cricket remained important. In one unusual club game Sam took all 11 opposing wickets. He enjoyed his social life and had a love of cars, owning a variety of sports and luxury cars. The Overseas Doctors ‘Association was important to Sam, and he acted as president of the Kettering division for two years. In the New Years Honours List of 1991 he was awarded the OBE.

Sam died after a period of gradually failing health. He leaves his second wife, Catherine; and five children, Shane, Sheena, Adrian, Carl, and Bernice.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4221


  • Consultant physician Kettering General Hospital (b 1930; q Bombay 1954; FRCP, OBE), d 2 February 2012.

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