The Medical Mission
S. Amjad Hussain, MD, FRCSC, FACS

S. Amjad Hussain, MD,

He’s been called a Renaissance Muslim by the Journal of the Islamic Medical Association and recognized as a living legend by the president of his medical school alma mater. Writer, photographer and explorer, this cardiothoracic surgeon has, for over 40 years, taught a legion of medical students and doctors and donated tons of supplies and equipment while on mission and teaching trips to the Dominican Republic, China, Libya, India and his native Pakistan.

Dr. S. Amjad Hussain graduated with distinction from Khyber Medical College in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1962 and came to the former Maumee Valley Hospital in Toledo for advanced training in cardiovascular surgery, reaching the highest positions in academic medicine.  Now professor emeritus of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Toledo’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences where he has a professorship in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery named in his honor, he has never forgotten his roots, returning to Khyber Medical College bearing gifts of time, talent and treasure for those in need.

“It must be a quarter of a century ago when I had the pleasure of meeting the maverick called Amjad Hussain in many different perspectives within a couple of days,” said Dr. Muhammad Hafizullah, president of Khyber Medical College. “He advised us about cardiac theatres [and then we] received ten permanent pacemakers that he donated for poor patients who could not afford the life-saving expensive devices.”
That meeting was one that would be replicated many times around the world. Dr. Hussain’s missionary teaching work includes the traditional – annual one- and two-weeklong surgical trips to countries like the Dominican Republic – with teams of medical professionals through organizations like Midwest Medical Missions. It also includes – as befits the man – the non-traditional.

An internationally recognized explorer who founded the Team Indus exploration group, Dr. Hussain has traversed the entire 2,000 miles of that river in Pakistan and the source of the river in western Tibet while also working as a medical missionary. In one case, he saved a 20-year-old man gasping for air who had a collapsed lung. The patient needed a chest tube. With none available, Dr. Hussain fabricated the needed implement from a flatus tube.

“He has a heart of gold which has unlimited stories of love,” Dr. Hafizullah said.

The inventor of two surgical devices – the pleura-peritoneal shunt and a special endotracheal tube to supply oxygen during fiberoptic broncchoscopy in awake patients – Dr. Hussain views life as a relay race where one receives the baton and then passes it on. He says he should have been an engineer because he likes to build bridges.  

The bridge-building is on display in his op-ed columns for The (Toledo) Blade, in his photographs documenting world culture, and in his eight books which cover subjects as diverse as religion, culture, history and international relations.

Said Dr. Hafizullah, whose institution recognized Dr. Hussain with its first lifetime achievement award during its golden jubilee celebration: “He has the unique distinction of blurring the artificial boundaries between different cultures and science and art, various fields of arts, and different languages and conquering them all.”

Dr. Hussain was married to the late Dottie Brown Hussain. He is the father of three grown children: Natasha, Monie and Qarie.