Distinguished cardiologist, Dr Mazhar Khan, was a prominent member of the Islamic community here and one of the founder members of Belfast Islamic Centre.
Dr Khan came to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast in 1978 where he first worked with Professor Pantridge.
He was appointed as a consultant in 1982. He became the leading interventional cardiologist in Northern Ireland at a time when many new and exciting forms of treatment were in their infancy. In October 1982, he was one of the first to carry out coronary angioplasty in the province and was later among the first to perform balloon valvuloplasty in the United Kingdom. In 1990 Dr Khan implanted the first automatic cardiac defibrillator in Northern Ireland, a technique used to correct cardiac arrhythmias ensuring correct pacing of the heartbeats. Later, he took up the challenge of primary coronary angioplasty when this was considered a high-risk procedure. He also travelled regularly to Pakistan where he provided hands-on training for hundreds of practitioners and treated innumerable complicated cases on a voluntary basis, continuing for almost two decades prior to his death.
As a special tribute to honour his life and career, and to inspire and encourage aspiring young doctors, the Khan family have instituted a medal to be awarded each year to the junior cardiologist making the greatest contribution to the work of the Cardiology department of the Royal Victoria Hospital. Reflecting Dr Khan’s approach to difficult clinical scenarios, the medal will have the inscription ‘Dum spiro spero’ (While I breathe, I hope). This medal is a fitting tribute to his legacy.
The welfare of the Muslim community in Northern Ireland was always of concern to both Dr Khan and his family. They helped introduce many Muslim students to local life. Dr Khan previously served as president of the Belfast Islamic Centre and remained a trustee until his death last year. He was universally respected and admired, and he enriched the lives of all who met him. He is very much missed by all at BIC.
May Allah have mercy on our Brother Dr Khan, forgive his sins, and grant him the highest abode in jannatul firdaus. Ameen.