Kamal Mansour, 1929-2016
Kamal Mansour, MBBCH, a beloved and renowned faculty cardiothoracic surgeon of the Emory Department of Surgery for 48 years, passed away on June 6, 2016. Dr. Mansour was affectionately known to thousands of Emory residents as "The Professor" because of his devotion to teaching and training and his unselfish regard for his students and patients.
"Dr. Mansour was a passionate, critical surgical educator who taught his residents to be fearless and uphold the highest standards of patient care when it came to dealing with complex surgical problems," says Edward Chen, MD, who trained with Dr. Mansour during his Emory cardiothoracic surgery residency and later became his colleague after joining our faculty. "His technical skills in the operating room were best described as both powerful and elegant. The only thing that exceeded his gracefulness as a surgeon was his gentle and humble nature as a human being. He will be sorely missed.'
Dr. Mansour was born in Cairo, Egypt. He graduated from Tewfik College in Cairo in 1947, and earned his master's degree from Ein Shams University Medical School in 1954. He completed surgical training at several institutions in Egypt and Jordan, before coming to the United States and finishing his training at Emory University Hospital in 1968. Charles Hatcher, MD, former chair of surgery and later director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, immediately invited him to join Emory’s then three-member section of cardiothoracic surgery.
With a manner of wit and intensity, Dr. Mansour reveled in performing surgeries and teaching and mentoring future generations of surgeons, all with the priority of treating and healing hundreds of patients over the years. He became widely known for perfecting a technique that replaces the esophagus with a section of bowel — a method that Emory is now known for internationally. In 2001, he was awarded the Shield of Medicine by the Medical Society of Egypt for being one of the ten most outstanding Egyptian doctors in the world. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Emory Medal for distinguished service and notable professional and academic achievement in 2008. In 2010, he was given the Inspiration Award of the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association, and was recognized the following year as one of Emory University’s History Makers during its 175th anniversary.
Dr. Mansour was a professor in Emory’s School of Medicine from 1968 until he retired in 2004, but remained active in the Emory community until his passing. Throughout his career, Dr. Mansour frequently traveled back to Egypt to teach and work.
In 2010, Dr. Mansour made a substantial gift to Emory that established the Kamal A. Mansour Professorship of Thoracic Surgery.
When he made the gift, he said: "I am deeply indebted to Emory for my many years of association here, including the freedom to practice surgery, teach residents, and help establish the section of general thoracic surgery, in addition to training residents and assisting physicians in Egypt. I wanted to express my gratitude to Emory, and I am proud to have my name associated with the general thoracic surgery section. I hope this professorship will encourage young surgeons who are interested in working in this field."
In a fitting remembrance of the grace and humanity that Dr. Manosur projected, cardiothoracic surgeon Omar Lattouf, MD, PhD, who also trained at Emory and joined Emory Surgery in 2000, recalls, "I first met Kamal when I was a third year medical student in 1978. Every single time we met again after that, he would say the Egyptian words of greeting, 'Izayak Ya Habibi,' which translates as 'How are you, my beloved friend.' That was Kamal. I will always remember his smile and those words."
Dr. Mansour is survived by his wife Sylvia Cleopatra; daughter Sylvia and her husband Samy Naguib; grandson Nicolas and wife Erin Bailey Naguib of N.Y.; sister Widad Monsour in Egypt; sister-in-law Nadia Mansour, nephew Andrew and wife Kim Mansour of Nashville, TN; nephew Talaat and wife Magy Tadros, daughters Mary Grace and Sarah; and nephew Maher and wife Dalal Mansour, son Sherif and wife Karla Mansour of Akron, OH. He was one of eight children, and had many beloved nieces and nephews in Egypt, Australia, and Sweden.