01 Dec 2023

Asif Saifuddin

16 November 1959 – 19 August 2023

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Obituary by Sajid Butt

Asif Saifuddin JTO obituary


Dr Asif Saifuddin joined the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital as a consultant radiologist straight after completing his radiology training from Leeds in 1992. This was his only job application as a consultant radiologist that he would ever make.

He was gifted with a rare to be found clarity of thought and singleminded sense of purpose. An avid reader, he had an encyclopaedic memory and an extraordinary ability to stay focused at his work. A prodigious scientific writer, he had shown his capabilities in this field from an early stage of his career. His book on the FRCR examination preparation that he published when he was still in training, achieved a cult status and radiology trainees around the world used the book as their final step in getting prepared for the exams.

Asif’s skills in the field of scientific writing got only stronger when he started his job of a consultant radiologist at Stanmore. The workload that he faced provided him with rich pickings and he produced close to 400 scientific publications over the next 30 years or so. Most of these papers were published in the most respected scientific journals. He also wrote around ten radiology books (including his magnum opus on MR imaging of Musculoskeletal MRI) and co-authored many chapters in established textbooks.

Asif was the senior member of the RNOH bone and soft tissue tumours service where his opinion was hugely respected. His national and international standing attracted a constant stream of case referrals that benefitted from his knowledge and expertise in making the correct call for management. Right until the end of his tragically short life, Asif remained hugely productive not just in scientific writings but also in his radiological examination reporting figures.

Asif was a deeply religious and quiet person. However, he had a wry sense of humour which he regularly used to showcase in the weekly sarcoma meeting at Stanmore with a brilliant sense of timing. The hilarity of his comments sounding sharper to people who were not familiar with that side of his personality and would lighten the mood even in the most difficult of situations.

Asif had a lot of time for his students. These ranged from radiology and orthopaedic surgical fellows to A-level students with aspirations to become medics. He would help the willing students in their scientific research projects as a capable and highly competent mentor. He was also always extremely helpful to all his colleagues in their daily workload.

Asif was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in March2022. He succumbed to this cancer some 17 months later. He leaves behind his widow, four children, a large circle of friends and colleagues and hundreds of students spread around the world. His wisdom, knowledge, work ethic and dry humour will be sorely missed by all who knew him.