Guy Sebag: Europe mourns a top pediatric radiologist

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Radiologists from across Europe and beyond have paid tribute to the life and achievements of Dr. Guy Sebag, the highly respected 55-year-old French pediatric radiologist who died suddenly on 28 November.

The French Society of Radiology (SFR) and European Society of Radiology (ESR) have posted announcements about his death, and there was a minute's silence for Sebag at the SFR reception held during last week's RSNA meeting in Chicago.

Sebag was head of the department of pediatric radiology and professor at the Robert Debré Hospital, Paris, and European editor of Pediatric Radiology. We asked those who knew him well to speak about the man and outline his contributions to radiology.

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Dr. Guy Sebag will be sorely missed by family, friends, and colleagues. Collage created by Dr. Lil-Sofie Ording MĂĽller.

Dr. Catherine Adamsbaum, pediatric radiologist and professor, HĂ´pital BicĂŞtre, Paris, Dr. Jean François Chateil, PhD, professor, CHU - Service Imagerie AntĂ©natale, HĂ´pital Pellegrin, Bordeaux, and Dr. Hubert Ducou Le Pointe, Service de Radiologie, HĂ´pital d'Enfants Armand-Trousseau, Paris, on behalf of the French pediatric radiologists group

We are deeply sorry about the sudden passing of Guy Sebag, a French pediatric radiologist known all over the world. He was a colleague and friend for 30 years and we'll miss him terribly.

Guy was a brilliant person: smart and generous, with an open mind and a great sense of humor. He was chairman of the department of pediatric radiology in Robert Debré Hospital from 2003. As an excellent pediatric radiologist involved in clinical research, he was the author of numerous scientific papers, and he was the managing editor of Pediatric Radiology (European side) since 2009. He also had a myriad of administrative and educational contributions in France.

Our warmest thoughts are sent to his beloved and charming family, particularly his wife Christina and their children Alexandra, Paul, and Angélique.

Dr. Freddy Avni, Jeanne de Flandre hospital, Lille, France and past general secretary of the European Society of Pediatric Radiology (ESPR)

Research and acquiring knowledge seemed very important to Guy in his professional life. He was keen to use newer equipment and make sure his patients benefited from technological developments. His main field of interest in radiology was bone diseases (especially bone necrosis).

He married a wonderful woman of Greek origin -- not only because she was beautiful and smart, but most probably because she brought him the liveliness of the Mediterranean humor that reminded him of his native Egypt. He also loved the mixture of cultures from different traditions. I remember a dinner during an ESPR meeting on the island of Rhodes. We sat eating and drinking with several friends and he kept telling jokes that made us laugh with tears.

He was a generous and human man. He played the role of father not only to his family, but also to the people working with him. He was a very supportive chief. Above all, he was so proud of his family.

Dr. Yves Menu, PhD, chair and professor, department of radiology, University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, and scientific director of the European Board of Radiology and president of ECR 2011

With Guy, we have lost a friend. I met him when he was in his fourth (and final) year of residency and I was an assistant professor. When you meet young in-training colleagues, you sometimes have some difficulty discovering who they really are, as they put themselves in a hierarchical "lower" position, but Guy was a special person. Without putting himself at the forefront, nevertheless everybody realized immediately that he was a very unusual combination of culture and empathy, self-assurance and modesty.

In his career, I cannot remember him being anything else than good to others, including colleagues, employees, and patients. When he was in training, early or advanced, he qualified unanimously as a "smart guy." When he became a specialist, climbing up the degrees of academic career, he was recognized as a reliable person, as a doctor, and as a manager.

The Society of Pediatric Radiology will celebrate Dr. Guy Sebag's life and contributions to the care of children at its 2015 meeting.The Society of Pediatric Radiology will celebrate Dr. Guy Sebag's life and contributions to the care of children at its 2015 meeting.

Guy became very naturally the leader of the medical community in his own institution, and more recently the president of our group of academic radiologists in Paris. This is an exposed position, as you have to make decisions and choices, while some of our colleagues are not really open to compromises and rather prompt to go to the battlefield.

This is not specific to our group! Nevertheless, he managed all difficult situations to reach not the lower level of compromise, when you try to give to each person a part of the cake, but the highest level of strategy, even if the cake was not to be shared. He miraculously showed the right way to go, therefore demonstrating that there were no losers, only winners.

He just stepped down from this position a couple of weeks ago and I expected that he would be involved successfully in other national or international groups and committees.

We miss him a lot. It is common sense to say that everybody can be replaced. This is probably true for positions and quantity, but it is untrue when you mean quality, and this fully applies to Guy.

Dr. Maria I. Argyropoulou, head of the department of radiology, Medical School, University of Ioannina Greece

On behalf of the Greek group of pediatric radiologists, I would like to express our deep sadness for Guy's premature loss and our sympathy to his wife Christina and to his children Alexandra, Paul, and Angélique. Guy was a distinguished pediatric radiologist clinician and teacher, and a very successful editor of the journal Pediatric Radiology.

Guy loved Greece and Greek people and for many years spent his summer holidays at his beloved Skyros Island. Guy Sebag with his Mediterranean temperament and his French culture was the highly respected and admired friend of Greek pediatric radiologists. For me personally, Guy Sebag was an exceptional friend, we grew up together in the pediatric radiology family.

Guy was a pillar for the ESPR and we will miss him very much.

Dr. Guy Sebag dancing with his wife Christina at the gala dinner of ESPR in Athens, 2012. Image courtesy of Dr. Maria I. Argyropoulou.Dr. Guy Sebag dancing with his wife Christina at the gala dinner of ESPR in Athens, 2012. Image courtesy of Dr. Maria I. Argyropoulou.

Dr. Michael Riccabona, professor of pediatrics and radiology, University hospital LKH Graz, Austria, and president of the upcoming 52nd Annual Meeting and 38th Postgraduate Course of the ESPR, and president of the GPR (Gesellschaft Pädiatrische Radiologie, the society of all German-speaking pediatric radiologists)

Guy's sudden and early death is painfully hard to grasp. He is a great loss to the European pediatric radiology community. Not only was he an outstanding pediatric radiologist and highly engaged head of a large pediatric radiology department in Paris, he was also the European managing editor of Pediatric Radiology. He was deeply committed to, and invested a great deal of energy into boosting quality and perception (and impact factor) for the most important journal in pediatric imaging.

I had the privilege of knowing Guy for many years and learning from his expertise. In pediatric musculoskeletal imaging and MRI, for example, he was a forerunner in recognizing the value of and in promoting functional MR imaging and MR perfusion studies in pediatric hip conditions such as Perthes Disease.

I had the honor of spending time with Guy at my home town in Graz when he attended our Austrian pediatric radiology annual meeting some years ago. He contributed a truly outstanding lecture, but was equally keen to visit the old town of Graz and chat about life and professional developments before flying home again. I thoroughly enjoyed these hours with him; they have become a precious memory.

Most of all, Guy was a great man and a cherished colleague, always ready for a laugh, full of understanding and always striving to solve problems, help out, and move things forward even after hard discussions, challenging developments, and very long days.

I hope these few lines paint a picture of Guy and express my sadness and bewilderment -- shared by my German-speaking pediatric radiology colleagues and so many radiologists across Europe and around the world -- at this great loss and his unexpected death.

Statement by the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR):

Dr. Guy Sebag will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues the world over. Our deepest sympathies are sent to his wife, his children, and to those innumerable friends and colleagues. The SPR will celebrate his life, his friendship, and his contributions to the care of children at the 2015 meeting where Dr. Sebag will be named an honorary member.

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