A tribute to Dr. Salomon Hakim


Dr. Salomon Hakim, the Father of Modern Neurosurgery died yesterday here in Bogota. I never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Hakim, and I was not an ardent follower of his work.

But I did have the pleasure of interviewing his son, Dr. Fernando Hakim . I had heard Dr. Salomon Hakim’s name mentioned in passing, so I had familiarized myself with him prior to meeting Dr. Fernando Hakim, thus I knew of his contributions to the treatment of hydrocephalus,  and the field of neurosurgery, and the development of the Hakim valve.  I had even gone by San Juan de Dios in downtown Bogota, and tried to imagine him, hard at work, in the now deserted halls.

I remember upon my first meeting with Dr. Hakim being daunted by his accomplishments, and then thinking, if I felt daunted by his achievements, what was it like to be the son of Salomon Hakim?

But, Dr. Fernando Hakim – he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps.. He tread through them, and past them to build upon his father’s body of work, and create new innovations. That is the greatest tribute anyone could ever give Dr. Salomon Hakim, a man who dedicated his life to helping others.

A day of Passion!


Had a long, but exciting day, with some interesting doctors – who are strikingly passionate about their work, which is always wonderful to see.

This morning, I traveled out to Chia, to the University of Sabana to visit with Dr. Camilo Osorio Barker, MD who is the Dean of Medicine, (and a practicing thoracic surgeon.)  Like many thoracic surgeons here in Colombia, Dr. Osorio practices at several locations, (primarily out in Chia at the University-affiliated hospital) but he also sees patients at Cardioinfantil. (He is partnered with Dr. Tellez and Dr. Garzon, both of whom we’ve interviewed previously)

One three- day weekend a month, he sees patients in Medellin.  He primarily specializes in the treatment of hyperhidrosis (excess sweating of palms, facial flushing) by thorascopic sympathectomy.  He report that this makes up about 90% of his practice – with the remainder of cases as VATS lung resections, and other lung procedures.    There’s a lot more to tell – but it’s been a long day, and I have an early appointment tomorrow with Dr. Ramon (neurosurgery) at Hospital Centro de Policia..

Don’t worry – I will be seeing Dr. Osorio again soon.

Next stop was Dr. Fernando Hakim, a neurosurgeon at Santa Fe de Bogota.  He was a fantastic interview – while he does the whole spectrum of neurosurgical procedures for vascular malformations, tumors, spinal problems, etc, he is best known for his treatment of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH).

(As I mentioned in a previous post) It seems almost inevitable, or inescapable that the son of the famed Dr. Salomon Hakim (who developed the first treatment for normal pressure hydrocephalus) – has carried on his father’s legacy. But Dr. Fernando Hakim is passionate about neurosurgery, and has certainly made his mark..

He clearly loves his work – I could have interviewed him for hours, and hours (but he’s a busy neurosurgeon, so I didn’t).  I will be seeing him again soon – (next week) and I’ll bring more information then.

Lastly, I stopped in to see Dr. Jose Felix Castro, general surgeon for a quick visit to get some last minute information for another project I am working on..