logo

Biographical Details

SHOLEM KAY 1917-1992

Sholem Kay was born on 23 April 1917 in Bellville. He received his schooling at S.A.C.S. and his medical training at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 1939. He specialised at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 1955.

During WW II he served as a Regimental Medical Officer in the Middle East from August 1941 until November 1943. Upon his return to SA he was appointed to the staff of the 1 Military Hospital, which was then Roberts Heights, and started his surgical career.

In 1946 he joined the staff of the Johannesburg Hospital as a surgical registrar. In 1948 he became a lecturer in Surgery and later head of a unit at Baragwanath Hospital. He entered private practice in Johannesburg in 1956, but always retained a very significant association with the Department of Surgery of Wits Medical School. He was a surgical mentor to innumerable surgical graduates of Wits.

He is widely regarded as the father of head and neck cancer surgery in Johannesburg and many general surgical registrars and later otolaryngology registrars had the pleasure of gaining insight into these conditions from his vast experience.

Mr Kay started the head and neck oncology clinic at the old Johannesburg General Hospital, and continued to chair this clinic for many years, later also at the Hillbrow Hospital. He firmly established the concept of multidisciplinary involvement. He will be remembered by many for his exceptional memory of the case history of virtually every patient who attended this clinic, as well as his compassion for them.

When the steering committee of the South African Society of Head and Neck Oncology came about in 1983, he was the first chairman and became the first Chairman of the Society when it was formed in 1984 at the annual meeting of the South African Society of Otorhinolaryngology at the Sandton Sun Hotel, Sandton. He also became the first President of this society.

He is annually remembered for posterity in the annual Sholem Kay Memorial Lecture which has been delivered by:

  • Cape Town 1993
    Professor Gordon Snow (Head & Neck Surgery), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Cape Town 1994
    Professor Mervyn Shear (Oral Pathology), Cape Town, South Africa
  • Midrand 1995
    Professor Finn Praetorius (Oral Pathology), Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Pretoria 1996
    Professor Jatin Shah (Head & Neck Surgery), New York, USA
  • Durban 1997
    Dr Dan Ash (Radiation Oncology), Leeds, UK
  • Cape Town 1998
    Professor Margaret Brandwein (Head & Neck Pathology), New York, USA
  • Cape Town 1999
    Professor Jeremy L. Freeman (Otolaryngology), Toronto, Canada
  • Sun City 2000
    Professor Wolfgang Steiner (Otolaryngology), Germany
  • Pretoria 2001
    Professor Jesus Medina (Head & Neck Surgery), Oklahoma, USA
Terms and conditions | Privacy Policy Admin Powered by