Dr. L.B.M.Joseph

Born: 1/3/1927 Home Call: 5/12/2012CMC mourns the passing away of Dr. L.B.M Joseph, former Director on December 5, 2012.

Dr. Joseph, or Dr. LBM, as he popularly known as, was born on 1st March 1927; son of a church minister and his mother was a school teacher. He did his undergraduate medical studies at Madras Medical College. He worked at the Lutheran Mission Hospital, in Andhra Pradesh for nearly three years Before joining CMC, Vellore in 1953 to do his  MS (General Surgery) in 1954. On completion in 1959, he joined the Department of Surgery, and a year later was appointed Head of Surgery Unit III, a unit that specialized in General and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

In 1962, Dr. LBM came to Melbourne on a Norman Fellowship for specialised training in surgical oncology under two eminent surgeons in this field- Sir Edward Hughes and Sir Edward E. Dunlop. On his return home, he planned and led a collaborative clinical study on the management of oral cancer involving the Departments of Surgery Unit III, Dental and Oral Surgery and Radiotherapy. The project was funded by the National Institute of Health, USA Approximately three hundred patients with very advanced oral cancer were included in this study. The most important finding of the study was that if chemotherapeutic agents were to be effective, they needed to be administered prior to radiation therapy or surgery.

The concept of a multidisciplinary team approach to the management of oral cancer through the weekly ‘tumour conference’ was introduced by Dr. LBM. This involved a meeting of clinicians from the Departments of Plastic Surgery, Dental Surgery, Radiotherapy and Pathology, where clinical details and therapeutic options in the management of patients were discussed.

Dr. LBM was Head of the Department of General Surgery, from 1969 to 1973. His surgical skills and sensitive concern for his patients were well known and widely appreciated. He was an excellent clinician and his kindness in dealing with patients and their families made him a very popular and distinguished surgeon. Dr. LBM was also an excellent teacher, passing on to his many students both the art and science of surgery.

In 1970, Dr. LBM was appointed Vice- Principal, the first of a series of administrative responsibilities he shouldered in CMC, Vellore. He was made the Director in June 1974 and served this role until his superannuation in March 1987.  Dr. LBM brought his courage, conviction, impeccable integrity and abiding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in what ever position he held. He became Director at a critical phase in the institution’s history: labour unrest, agitations and corruption had threatened to erode CMC, Vellore. But Dr. LBM’s astute leadership, his principled willingness to stand up for honesty, and courage to stand against indiscipline and violence steered the institution through the turbulent years. His wisdom, foresight and an absolute loyalty to place the institution above everything else – often at much personal cost and risk – provided inspiration for the institution to emerge from the dark days with a renewed sense of commitment and dedication.

As Director, Dr. LBM’s concern for the staff was evident in his developing the pension scheme, and housing for the employees, as ‘Joseph Nagar’ is testament to. He and his late wife, Mrs. Jem visited staff homes to share times of both joy and grief. Hundreds of grateful staff and students will testify to the help- financial, emotional, physical and spiritual – that they received from Dr. and Mrs. LBM Joseph.

Following his superannuation, Dr. LBM joined Christian Medical College, Ludhiana as Professor of Surgery. There, as elsewhere, he earned the love and respect of the batches of students he taught. He also served as Director of CMC, Ludhiana from March 1993 to December 1994. Following this, Dr. LBM was appointed consultant to the Synodical Board of Health Services, Church of North India for almost three years. Later, he offered his skill and expertise in hospital management to several mission hospitals in South India.

In the twilight of his life, he spent his time on the RUHSA Campus, doing things he loved best- reading, writing, playing the piano and listening to Western Classical music. Dr. LBM wrote three books – I Cut – God Heals (2008), My Life – A Great Adventure (2009) and The Truth Will Set You Free (2012); a fourth book will be published shortly.

A voracious reader, Dr. LBM could quote anyone from Shakespeare to Churchill. He was a fascinating speaker, as he kept his audiences rapt with anecdotes, history and memories.

The Friends of Vellore all around the world extend our sincere condolences and prayers at this time of bereavement and loss to his children and his extended family. To God, we are grateful for the life and witness of Dr. LBM Joseph.


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