Anaesthesiologists are medical doctors who have undergone an extra 5 years of speciality training in the field of anaesthesia and intensive care medicine.

We are the largest group of anaesthesiologists working in and around the Durban metropolitan area and work directly with a vast number of surgeons from all surgical specialities (Obstetrics & Gynaecology, ENT, General Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Urology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Ophthalmology, Vascular surgery, Cardiology). We are also involved in the intensive care units (ICU) at a number of the Durban private hospitals and assist our medical and surgical colleagues in this regard.

At BDP we believe in providing first world, up-to-date anaesthesia care within a structured team approach with our specialist surgeons. 

THE HISTORY OF BDP

The history of BDP is both fascinating and interesting, and has played an integral part in the growth of safe anaesthesia in South Africa.

Modern anaesthesia began in October 1846 in Boston Massachusetts, when Dr. William Norton anaesthetised a patient for a painless dental extraction using Ether. In 1853 Queen Victoria popularized Chloroform by receiving it for the birth of her son, and it was only in the 1950’s that surgery made major advances with the use of safe ventilation and newer drugs. Since then there have been remarkable advances in anaesthesia and Intensive care making many forms of safe surgery possible.

The beginnings of B.D.P. can be traced back to the late 1940’s when basically there were two large practices operating in Durban. The Dr. Oscar Schmahmann and Dr. Grant-White groups were in opposition to each other and worked in the six hospitals in Durban. [A special mention should be made of Dr. Harry Grant-White, who, in 1963, became the first South African doctor to obtain the Diploma in Anaesthesia from the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was also one of the founding members of the South African Society of Anaesthetists (SASA) and also established the Department of Anaesthesia at the University of Natal Medical School]

In the late 50’s there were no ECG machines and a finger on the pulse was the best monitor! The anaesthesiologists had to carry their own red rubber reusable endotracheal tubes, blood pressures machines and laryngoscopes! Intravenous drips consisted of reusable metal needles and rubber tubings to give fluids and blood.

The two groups of doctors were based in the day clinics in Durban central, in Eagle and Salisbury house buildings, respectively. These day clinics were the first of their kind in the world which have now become the norm! After many years of negotiations, in 1971 the two groups amalgamated to become the Durban Anaesthetic Clinics. Members of the two groups mainly involved in the merger discussions were Dr. Sher, representing the Durban Clinic in Eagle Building, and Dr. Rogoff representing the Anaesthetic Clinic in Salisbury House. Apparently, the approach of these two gentlemen was of a calibre seldom seen in Medical men, being positive, direct, friendly and considerate of each other’s views! Dr. Ronnie Mesham was elected the first chairman of the Durban Anaesthetic clinic. It should be noted that the amalgamation only involved the clinics in town and that the outside practices of the two groups in the hospitals would be kept separate.

After much competition between these groups in the hospitals, all activities were finally merged in 1975 under the name of Cilliers, Curwen and Partners, subsequently Mesham, Maytom and Partners and finally onward to its present-day title; Beck, Danchin and Partners Inc. in 1996. [Dr Peter Maytom went on to become the president of SASA in 1975, as well as the president of the South African Medical Association in 1994)

The united group then built their flagship, a then state of the art hospital, the Durdoc clinic. An efficient safe world class anaesthetic practice and service had now been established and was now available for the benefit of all patients and surgeons. In 1985 the amalgamated group led to the building of Westville hospital, the first to have a non-racial licence which was quite an achievement in those days and in 1991, Crompton hospital followed.

With the growth of the practice, up to 30 partners (the largest in RSA), many speciality services were added that gave patients a complete care service. These included an epidural service for pregnant mothers, a chronic pain, intensive care, eye, neurosurgical and cardiac service. One of the first successful heart transplants was completed in private practice in May 1997. Currently over 150 have been completed in Durban by BDP.

BDP has loyal, efficient administration staff, that are based at Musgrave Park and several of the hospitals, to ensure the smooth running of the practice. The partners are all involved in academic and ethical programmes that advance their knowledge, so that their patients can benefit from a caring and safe service. Several of the partners have served at all levels on both local and national committee’s, that represent anaesthesiologists to advance our profession. These are all voluntary posts that require time and dedication.

Finally, BDP has a strong social conscience and is involved in serving on various charities and offering free services to disadvantaged communities and hospitals.