Obituary: Dr. Harakh Vasanj Dedhia (1947-2013)

Decades of Dedicated Service in Critical Care in Morgantown, WV

By Mohindar Singh Seehra, Morgantown, WV   e-mail:

Dedhia PictureDr. Harakh Vasanj Dedhia, 66, professor of medicine at the Health Sciences Center (HSC) of West Virginia University (WVU), and a prominent pillar of the Indian-American community in the Morgantown region in WV passed away on September 1, 2013 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. He was a non-smoker and a vegetarian.

After graduating from the Grant Medical College, Bombay (1970), Dr. Dedhia completed his residency and fellowship in the US during 1972- 1977 in internal medicine. He joined WVU’s HSC as a faculty member in 1979, becoming the medical-surgical director of the intensive care unit (ICU) in 1983. His medical career was devoted to understanding and treating acute shock, acute respiratory failure and related problems of ICU patients.

An active researcher with over 140 publications and  book chapters on critical care, he led over 30 single- and multi-center clinical trials. Well-liked by patients and colleagues, he received many awards from WVU Hospitals. A plaque reading “In grateful appreciation of our friend and colleague Harakh V. Dedhia MD for his years of service to patients in the medical intensive care unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital” will be placed at the entrance to the ICU. In honor of his parents, he established the WVU Sarkaba V. Dedhia Pulmonary Critical Care Fund, income from which is now used to train future doctors in critical care.

The funeral service at McCulla Funeral Home in Morgantown attended by over 200 people on September 3, 2013. Afterward Dr. Dedhia’s mortal remains were cremated following Hindu rites led by Shri Suresh Chandra Joshi of the Pittsburgh’s Hindu-Jain Temple. A Memorial Service celebrating Dr. Dedhia’s dedicated life was held on September 7, 2013 at the Riverside Apostolic Church in Morgantown. Following bhajan singing by family members and Shri Joshiji, colleagues, family and friends paid heart-felt tributes to Dr. Dedhia for his inspiring humanitarianism, humility and pride; and for his compassion towards working for the greater good. A prayer by Anuja (Dr. Dedhia’s wife) and a 2-minute silence for the departed soul followed by prasad concluded the ceremony.

Dr.Dedhia leaves behind his loving wife Anuja, three sisters & four brothers & their families living in India and the U.S, and a large number of friends.  He was inspired by the Jain-Hindu spiritual ethos and traditions.   ♦

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