Dr. Stanley Goldberg will never forget Dr. Patrick F. Hagihara’s chilling first-person account of the atomic bomb hitting Hiroshima in August 1945: “There was a shadow on one side of me, and an instant later a shadow on the other side.”
Dr. Hagihara survived the bomb attack and went on to become one of the world’s most accomplished endoscopists and colorectal surgeons, performing more than 5,000 colonoscopies without a single perforation. He was a longtime ASCRS member.
Dr.Hagihara, 79, of Lexington, KY, died July 18. Born in the New York City area of Japanese parents, he was sent to Japan to get a classical Japanese education. Witness to countless U.S. air attacks and the ultimate surrender of the Japanese military forces, he maintained U.S. citizenship throughout. Because he lived in a radiated area, he could not return to the U.S. until 1948.
He then became valedictorian of Commerce High School in New York City, attended medical school at New York University, Albany, and completed his medical training and a fellowship in colon and rectal surgery under Dr. Goldberg at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Ward O. Griffin, Jr., former president of the American Board of Surgery, hired him at the University of Kentucky, where he became a prized member of the medical faculty.
In addition to his work in colon and rectal surgery, he performed one of the first heterotopic liver transplants, Dr. Griffin remembers.
Dr. Hagihara was awarded the honorary title of Admiral of Kentucky in 2007 in recognition of his contributions to community service and dedication to local U.S. veterans. He had served as a U.S. Navy general surgeon at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Guam. In retirement, he continued his medical services at the Lexington VA Medical Center.
Dr. Hagihara is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and two children.