KULDEEP SEHGAL

KULDEEP SEHGAL (1945-2003) whose first name means “Source of Light” was a visionary physician and a philanthropist. He was born in Lahore, India (today Pakistan into a conservative and religious Hindu family. The massacres during the riots of independence overshadowed his family’s life, forcing his parents to move from his home town and to leave him in the care of his grand-parents. The family was impoverished and struggled to make a living. Kuldeep grew up in his home town and later Delhi. He was the was oldest of five siblings. In spite of the family’s difficulties, his parents sent him to High-School and enabled him to receive a fine education. As a student Kuldeep was active in the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, and the National Cadet Corp. (NCC). Soon after completing his High School degree, he passed the NCC exam under authority of the Ministry of Defense in order to join the Indian army, but his parents asked him not to leave home.

Since his parents needed him, he decided to assist his family, but to continue his education. He applied to three medical schools of his hometown; and he was accepted to all of them. He opted for the Maulana Azad Medical College where he continued his studies and graduated with honors in surgery. Kuldeep supported himself throughout his medical-school years by tutoring in the evenings and on weekends. He was the first high school graduate and the first medical doctor in his family.

In 1968, during a seminar organized by the Dean of his Medical School, Kuldeep learned that there was a need for physicians in the United States. Within weeks, he applied for and passed E.C.F.M.G. exam (equivalent to the U.S. Medical Boards). In 1969, Kuldeep was accepted as an intern at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. He received free room and board as well as a one-way tickets from New Delhi to New York. He arrived in the United States with just eight dollars in his pocket, started to work right away, and continued to support his extended family financially, making sure that all of his siblings received at least a Bachelor’s degree. Later he moved to Pittsburgh where he completed his residency in pediatric and adult urology at UPMC Presbyterian. He passed his urology board and the PA license exam. Soon thereafter he started his practice as a Urology Associate of Beaver Valley and later relocated to Aliquippa Medical Center.

Kuldeep Sehgal was a visionary physician who developed his urology practice into a state-of-the-art facility, the first in the area to use a precutanous nephoscope, an instrument which enabled revolutionary advances in kidney surgery.

Sehgal was one of the first local urologists to be trained in Mainz, Germany, where he gained insight into the use of lithotripsy. He was one of the first physicians to bring lithotripsy to Pittsburgh hospitals. He modified Illial loop operations. Moreover, Dr. Sehgal opened the first impotence center in the tri-state area. His Aliquippa center for the treatment of impotence faced opposition from his peers and from conservative neighbors who claimed that “the center was immoral.”

Dr. Sehgal was the only local urologist who volunteered to treat patients who had undergone surgery due to sexually transmitted diseases (STD) free of charge for over six years. He served as a board member at the hospital for many years. As president of the Medical Staff, he helped collect funds for employees of Jones and Laughlin Steel Mill.

Throughout his hospital career, he served on many hospital committees but did not accept any honorarium. He was a member of the American Medical Association (AMA), of the American Urology Association (AUA), of the American Association of Physicians from India (AAPI), of the Tri-State Association of Physicians from India (TAPI), of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), and of the MAMCOANA (Maulana Azad Medical College Alumni overseas Association).

He made his office auditorium available to the community to hold educational meetings free of charge. He gave community lectures on impotence, sexuality, kidney stones, and prostrate cancer — not only in Beaver County but throughout the tri-state area — in order to inform the medical and general public regarding adult and pediatric urology. He helped patients without insurance free of charge and made house calls to the ill and needy.

Dr. Seghal was an altruistic person. As a philanthropist, he helped artists and educators. He was a very generous supporter of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. His plan for his retirement was to serve pro bono in medical centers around the world. He hoped to join the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders, a volunteer organization.

Dr. Sehgal was a spiritual, loving, and generous physician. He was a kind, straightforward, and honest man who helped time and again his patients and co-workers. As a lasting tribute to him, his family established a donor-advised fund at the Pittsburgh Foundation in his memory. The fund allows his family to actively support the causes that were so important to him such as the arts and education as well as the defeat of discrimination, poverty, homelessness, and hunger. Since Dr. Sehgal was particularly interested in the research and support of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Dyslexia, a disorder he may have had despite his success as an entrepreneur and surgeon, the fund helps children with this problem.

ADHD and dyslexia are disorders prevalent in school-age children, affecting one child in five. It remains often undiagnosed. As a result, there are numerous successful artists, scientists, and business executives who had this genetic disorder. Among them are Edison and Einstein who both suffered from learning disabilities (dyslexia). Dr. Vitasta Bazas and Sheen Sehgal hope to help teachers and parents teach children with these disabilities.