Smile Maker surgeon passes away

A file photo of Hirji S. Adenwalla at his consultation room of Charles Pinto Centre for Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies at Thrissur’s Jubilee Mission Hospital.   | Photo Credit: Smile Train

Making children smile was a lifetime mission for Hirji S. Adenwalla, who dedicated himself to performing surgeries to correct the cleft lip and palate -- a congenital deformity in children -- for five decades at the Charles Pinto Centre for Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies of Jubilee Mission Hospital at Thrissur in Kerala..

Dr. Adenwalla, who was to turn 90 on June 5, died early Wednesday at a private hospital in Coimbatore while being treated for fever and difficulty in breathing.

Dr. Adenwalla teamed up with the U.S.-based Smile Train, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to cleft lip and palate surgery world-wide, and performed over 17,000 surgeries at the Charles Pinto Centre.

A Parsi from Mumbai, Dr. Adenwalla joined Jubilee Mission in 1959. Over decades, he brought a smile on thousands of children with the congenital deformity through surgical correction. The partnership with Smile Train helped in performing the surgery free of cost on children from poor families.

“Treating children with cleft lip and palate became his passion”, says Fr. Francis Pallikunnath, Director of the hospital, who came to Coimbatore to pay his last respects to the doctor despite the lockdown.

“He would have performed anywhere between 17,000 and 18,000 cleft lip and palate surgeries. He worked with a missionary zeal. He also served as chief medical superintendent for 25 years.

He was coming to the centre even at the age of 89 until he moved to his daughter’s residence in Coimbatore,” Fr. Pallikunnath said.

“The centre currently does around 60 free surgeries a month to correct cleft lip and palate,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 1:00:13 AM |

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