Dr Sheldon C. (Shelly) Naiman, 1937–2016

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 58, No. 9, November 2016, Pages 526-527 Obituaries

Dr Sheldon C. (Shelly) Naiman

Dr Sheldon C. Naiman passed away in July 2016 following a short illness. Dr Naiman was a beloved family man and a mentor to many individuals in the medical community in BC.

Born in Toronto, Dr Naiman graduated from the University of Toronto in 1962. After medical school he moved to California and while at the Los Angeles County Hospital he became interested in bleeding and clotting problems and decided to pursue a career in hematology. (Dr Naiman later became well known in Vancouver as Dr DIC.) After returning to Toronto for further training he was subsequently recruited by Drs Mac Whitelaw and Wally Thomas to join UBC and the staff at VGH. With Dr George Gray he directed the hematology lab at VGH for many years.

Dr Naiman became the province’s first full-time clinical hematologist and subsequently the first head of the UBC Division of Clinical Hematology. During this time he also joined the first examining board of the new Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada subspecialty of clinical hematology.

During the 1970s and 1980s Dr Naiman traveled with his popular hematology road shows around the province where he educated and befriended many practitioners. After 15 years of frustration with the outcomes of acute leukemia treatment in adults, Dr Naiman helped organize the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at VGH in 1979. Overall, he practised hematology for over 40 years at both VGH and St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Dr Naiman was a shining example—and one of the last—of a hybrid clinical and laboratory hematologist and was widely regarded as an outstanding educator. His lengthy consultation letters and impromptu lectures on virtually any area of the specialty were a testament to his vast knowledge and experience. He received several master teacher awards, and many students considered him to be the best teacher they had ever had. Even as his sight was failing he was still considered the go-to person for difficult blood film and bone marrow interpretation. In 2009 he received the prestigious Dr Cam Coady Foundation Medal of Excellence.

Shelly was a true mensch, always finding time for family and friends as well as for his patients. He and his wife, Dr Linda Vickars, were a true force, working together for over 20 years at St. Paul’s Hospital. They were also passionate about traveling and visited all seven continents before Linda’s untimely death in 2014. While traveling they consulted for their friend, Dr George Deng, in Chengdu, China, and contributed to the annual postgrad hematology course in India.

Shelly and Linda created an endowment at the UBC Centre for Blood Research, and the multipurpose lab in the Life Sciences Centre has been named after them.

Shelly was particularly grateful for the care given him by his lifetime personal physician and good friend, Dr Lyle Levy, and was overwhelmed by the compassionate attention shown to him by the ICU staff at VGH during his last hospitalization.

Dr Naiman is survived by his five children and their mother, Marcia Schultz; his brother, Neil; and eight grandchildren.
—Gershon Growe, MD
—The Naiman family

Gershon Growe, MD, The Naiman family. Dr Sheldon C. (Shelly) Naiman, 1937–2016. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 9, November, 2016, Page(s) 526-527 - Obituaries.

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