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5.25.2018

Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjiv Bhatia Passes Away

Sanjiv Bhatia, M.D., associate professor of clinical neurological surgery, passed away early Thursday morning, May 24.

Bhatia was a prominent pediatric neurosurgeon who joined the faculty of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in 2004 and has since practiced at both Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Holtz Children’s Hospital and at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (NCH).

At both institutions, he focused his skills on the management of intractable epilepsy, brain tumors, vascular malformations, spinal dysraphism, neuroendoscopy in the surgical management of hydrocephalus and intracranial arachnoid cysts, pediatric peripheral nerve injuries including brachial plexus injuries, and congenital malformations of the central nervous system such as spinal bifida. He has published extensively on the neurosurgical management of epilepsy in children.

After graduating from the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, in 1980, Bhatia completed his residency in neurosurgery from the same Institute in 1986 and was an assistant professor until 1992. He subsequently joined the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, for two years. During this period, he focused his research on the role of MR and PET imaging in the evaluation and surgical treatment of epilepsy. Upon completion of his research, Dr. Bhatia joined the Boston University School of Medicine. He later joined the Boston VA Medical Center as a neurosurgery staff attending physician from 1996 to 2000.

Bhatia then joined the residency program at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in July 2000, completing his second residency in neurological surgery in only four years. He completed fellowships in vascular and skull base surgery, as well as pediatric neurosurgery before joining the UM faculty.

At the time of his passing, he served as chief of the Department of Surgery and director of the operating room at NCH. He also served as the fellowship director and attracted some of the top North American candidates seeking fellowship training in pediatric neurosurgery, as well as legions of international observers who sought to be in his presence.

Bhatia was incredibly proud of his family, including his wife, Rita Bhatia, M.D., a distinguished and accomplished UM neuroradiologist who is associate professor of clinical radiology. His eldest son, Ritwik Bhatia, M.D., and his daughter-in-law, Monisha Bhatia, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., just graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and will start neurology and internal medicine residencies at UM/Jackson this summer. His youngest son, Shovan Bhatia, graduated from Ransom Everglades High School and will be enrolling at the Georgia Institute of Technology this fall, where he will study mechanical engineering and participate in the Global Leadership program.

“Sanjiv was a brilliant neurosurgeon and dedicated to his profession providing excellent neurosurgical treatment for the children of South Florida,” said Allan D. Levi, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery. “He was also an advocate for providing first-class neurosurgical care to developing countries, frequently traveling to fulfill that mission.”

On a volunteer basis, Bhatia frequently traveled to Haiti along with colleagues, trainees and family to perform neurosurgical procedures on hydrocephalic children at Bernard Mevs Hospital. He was revered in India and taught the latest pediatric neurosurgical techniques to his colleagues.

Levi said, “Sanjiv was an exceptional teacher, surgeon, and a beloved friend to many of us at the medical center and he will be dearly missed.”

An open house is being held in remembrance on Saturday, May 26, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Van Orsdel Family Funeral Chapels & Crematory, 3333 NE 2nd Avenue, in Miami.

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