Nghia M. Vo
A Gentleman Physician
         Born in Vietnam on 10-15-1918 within a family of twelve children, he passed away in France in 2008 at the age of ninety. Graduating from the Hanoi School of Medicine in 1946, he furthered his medical studies in Paris in 1950 and became Professor Agrégé in 1952. He returned to Hanoi to become a faculty member of the Hanoi School of Medicine.

         During the 1954 exodus, he and other members of the faculty moved to Saigon to found the Saigon School of Medicine. He became the Director of the Saigon Institute of Anatomy and Chief of the Cardiothoracic Surgery at Binh Dan Hospital. For fifteen years, he trained many generations of physicians who came to admire his work, dedication, knowledge, and good humor. In 1969, he moved to Brest, France where he became Chief of the department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy, University of Brest. He retired in 1989 after publishing more than 100 medical papers, six book chapters and writing three books.

         He was one of these professors you would remember for the rest of your life: simple, charismatic, outgoing, kind, generous, and soft. I had never seen him berate, shout or yell at any student and his classes were always full, despite the fact that they started at 1 pm- a time when the sun was sky-high and the tropical heat oppressive. It was siesta time in Saigon: but he was there teaching and drawing with sweat running down his temples. There was no air conditioning in the 1960's: all the windows were left open to allow fresh air to come in. On the high ceiling, a few rare fans provided an uncertain relief to the heat. Yet no one slept in his classes. All the eyes were riveted to the huge blackboard and the jolly professor who kept students awake with his jokes and his pleasant demeanor.

        Please read the rest of the story in THE LANDS OF FREEDOM.
Back