Development of pediatric neurosurgical service at Dr. Soetomo
Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia
Abdul Hafid Bajamal
Received: 18 May 2017 /Accepted: 26 June 2017 /Published online: 10 July 2017
Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017
Purpose This review traces the history of pediatric neurosur-
gery at Dr. Soetomo General Hospital (DSGH) and its role in
advancing the field of pediatric neurosurgery.
Methods The history, the founding fathers, and the next gen-
erations of the pediatric neurosurgery in DSGH were traced
back from original sources and authors’ life stories.
Result Pediatric neurosurgical service at DSGH has its own
unique perspective being a pediatric service in general hospi-
tal setting. It serves second largest city of Indonesia - the fifth
most populated country in the world. Historical vignette and
future perspectives are narratively presented.
Conclusion As a pediatric neurosurgical service at general
hospital in developing country, its development deserves a
Keywords Pediatric neurosurgical service
Indonesia has more than 250 million people with one third of
the population is pediatric age group. In Indonesia, there is no
specialized children’s hospital that runs full spectrum of special-
ty services dedicated to sick children. Most, if not all, of pedi-
atric surgical cases will be managed in general hospital along
with its adult counterpart. Surabaya, the second largest city in
Indonesia, has 3.5 million population. There are more than 15
public and private hospitals serving in Surabaya. Dr. Soetomo
General Hospital (DSGH) is the only major tertiary care center
in Surabaya with 1500 beds serving children and adults patient
from the city and eastern part of Indonesia (Fig. 1a). As the
highest and largest referral hospital, pediatric neurosurgical ser-
vice at DSGH receives cases with moderate and high severity
level. It is a demanding service, despite the limitations in facility.
Geographical closeness and historical background make DSGH
also serving as teaching hospital for Universitas Airlangga
Faculty of Medicine (Fig. 1b). Medical professional education
for undergraduate students and residents takes place in the pre-
mises. The word Bideal^ or Bperfect^ still requires a huge effort
to address challenges in the evolution of the service.
Days of pioneers
Dr. Basoeki Wirjowidjojo, the pioneer neurosurgeon, started
the first neurosurgical service in Surabaya. He worked after he
finished his neurosurgery training in Tilburg, Netherland, in
1959. In 1971 to 1979, he sent three doctors to learn neuro-
surgery in Nijmegen, Netherland, namely Muhammad Sajid
Darmadipura, Umar Kasan, and Abdul Hafid Bajamal. Until
1975, Dr. Wirjowidjojo looked after neurosurgery service
alone while waiting for Dr. Darmadipura finished his training.
Dr. Darmadipura finished the training in 1975 and helped Dr.
Wirjowidjojo to take care the service. Dr. Kasan finished his
training in 1979 and Dr. Bajamal finished in 1983.
Neurosurgery had adequate work force with four neurosur-
geons (Fig. 2). In early years, they did all cases as general
neurosurgeons including pediatric. Concentrating into one
subspecialty was not feasible. To avoid conflict that may arise
from unbalanced workload and its financial consequences,
* Wihasto Suryaningtyas
Department of Neurosurgery, Airlangga University Faculty of
Medicine—Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia
Childs Nerv Syst (2017) 33:1451–1458