Renowned surgeon passes

·4 min read

Sep. 28—A well-known surgeon who passed away this weekend is being remembered for his contributions to the Lake Cumberland medical community.

Dr. Hossein Fallahzadeh passed away Saturday at the age of 80 following a brief illness.

A British-trained surgeon, Dr. Fallahzadeh completed his General Surgery residency at The University of Louisville where he was chief resident and assistant professor. It was there he met his wife of 49 years, Monticello native Jedda Sue Higginbotham. The couple settled in Somerset in 1974 where Dr. Fallahzadeh would become one of the most renowned physicians in the area — at one time serving as President of the American College of Surgeons and Chief of Staff at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.

"Dr. Fallahzadeh was truly a 'bedrock' physician at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital," hospital CEO Robert Parker said. "He was known for so many years as a terrific surgeon, a witty colleague to our medical staff, and simply a fun person to know and laugh with as we cared for our patients and worked within our community. He will be greatly missed."

Dr. Michael Citak served as one of Dr. Fallahzadeh's partners when he first came to Somerset in 1996. Citak noted the elder surgeon's confidence and how Dr. Fallahzadeh would tell him not to worry during a difficult operation, that Citak couldn't get them "into anything" that he couldn't get them out of.

"He was a master of surgery and anatomy," Dr. Citak recalled. "We did a lot of surgery together in those early years and I learned a lot from him...I am grateful for his mentorship and will miss him greatly."

Dr. Gregory Sherry remembered Fallahzadeh as "a gifted surgeon, a true gentleman, and a credit to his profession."

"Dr. Fallahzadeh was an integral and indispensable member of the medical community in Pulaski County for nearly 50 years," Dr. Joseph Weigel added. "I am quite certain that he saved more lives with his surgical skills over that time than any of the rest of us. He was unfailingly available at any time he was ever needed, on call or not. His legacy of service to the people of this region should be celebrated."

Melissa Coner-Smith, LCRH Senior Director of Surgical Services, and Elmer Wyatt, CSA (Certified Surgical Assistant), both called it an honor to have worked with Dr. Fallahzadeh. Wyatt noted his compassion while Coner-Smith talked about his care for both his patients and team.

"He was a top notch surgeon," she said. "He wanted the best care for his patients and accepted nothing less."

"Dr. Fallahzadeh was one in a million," Dr. Rodney Oakes said. "He was always kind, able to put his patients at ease and had superior and exemplary skills as a surgeon. He was a wonderful neighbor, friend, and valued colleague who contributed greatly to making our medical community what it is today. He will be long remembered as a tireless advocate for quality healthcare in this community."

In addition to his practice, Dr. Fallahzadeh was heavily involved in public health — having served for many years on the Pulaski County Board of Health as well as the larger board for the Lake Cumberland district.

Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley chairs the Lake Cumberland District Board of Health and noted the surgeon's faithful service over the years.

"I have known him since my childhood and he has always been a dear family friend," Kelley said. "He was a champion for health and fitness in our county, and one of the finest in our medical community....Very few have contributed to the betterment of Pulaski County than Dr. Fallahzadeh. We will surely miss him."

Executive Director for the Lake Cumberland District Health Department Amy Tomlinson also paid tribute to the doctor.

"He was always very outspoken and clear about his stand on public health issues facing our community," she said. "He served on the selection committee that chose me to be the Director of the health department this summer, and I am very thankful for the confidence he placed in me to hold this position. This county and district are better for having known this wonderful servant, physician, father and friend."

Visitation will be held on Wednesday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Chapel of Lake Cumberland Funeral Home. Complete obituary information can be found in this edition on Page A3.

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