Ayub Khan Ommaya- Pride of Pakistan
Ayub Khan Ommaya, MD, ScD (h.c.), FRCS, FACS (April 14, 1930, Mian Channu - July 11, 2008, Islamabad) was a Pakistani neurosurgeon and the inventor of the Ommaya reservoir. He was a graduate of King Edward Medical College Lahore.The reservoir is used to provide chemotherapy directly to the tumor site for brain tumors. Ommaya was also a leading expert in traumatic brain injuries.
Neurosurgeon and authority on brain injury. Born April 14, 1930, in Mian Chanuu, Pakistan, he died on July 11, 2008, in Islamabad, Pakistan.
To anyone delivering chemotherapy to the cerebrospinal fluid, the name Ommaya will be associated with one word: “reservoir”. To those who followed the 1997 Massachusetts trial of the British nanny Louise Woodward charged with shaking to death the baby Matthew Eappen, the name may conjure up recollections of a witness who gave evidence for the defence. To many more—friends, patients, and colleagues—Ommaya was simply the talented neurosurgeon who would seize any opportunity to deliver an operatic aria, whether across the dining table or in the operating theatre.
Born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, he was a national champion swimmer. He received his medical degree from King Edward Medical College in Pakistan in 1953 and, as a Rhodes Scholar, received his master's degree from Balliol College, Oxford University, in 1956. During medical school, he trained as an amateur boxer and was a member of the crew team at Balliol.
Before Dr. Ommaya's work in the 1960s, there was no effective way to deliver chemotherapy treatments for brain tumors. His invention of the Ommaya reservoir, a plastic dome-shaped device with a catheter attached to the underside, made possible the delivery of chemotherapy to the brain and spinal cord. In addition, the device served as a prototype for all medical ports now in use.
How reservoir works
45 minutes of death
The celebrated 18-hour operation that Ommaya performed – which became the subject of a long write-up in Reader's Digest titled "45 Minutes of Death" - involved a lethal mass on the spinal cord of 36-year old teacher Donald Hauck from Rochester, New York, that grew and grew until an operation became imperative; but for the surgery to succeed, the patient's heart and brain, it was clear, would have to be shut down, making him a "living corpse.” The operation was performed at the George Washington University hospital in Washington, DC by Ommaya.The problem was that the patient's cluster was disturbingly close to one of the body's life centers, the respiration-controlling medulla. If the medulla was to be found to be deeply embedded, Ommaya would have to cut into blood-carrying vessels and hemorrhages would obscure his vision. He would not be able to use a suction tube in critical areas next to the medulla and the high spinal cord as that might vacuum up the patient's nerve cells. Ommaya decided to drain the body of blood, put the patient on a heart-lung machine, perform the operation, reheat the blood, return it to the body, restore circulation and revive regular functions. The question was whether he would be able to revive the man's brain. Ommaya's successful operation has become a neurosurgical classic.
To read more about this Pakistani legend , visit
Ayub Khan Ommaya : The Lancet
The LAncet is a well known medical journal
Washington Post Ayub K. Ommaya, 78; Neurosurgeon and Authority on Brain Injuries
Ayub K. Ommaya - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia