TulsaPeople Q&A: Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh

A pediatric cardiac surgeon with a big heart



Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh is writing a book about loss — a topic gleaned from his own personal experience and the experiences of other parents whose children have died.

(page 1 of 2)

The medical community has no shortage of hyper-intelligent healers, but even among the extremely smart and the extremely talented, Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh is in a league of his own.

A world-renowned pediatric cardiac surgeon, Nikaidoh, 77, is the medical director and chief of pediatric cardiovascular surgery at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis. Born in Tokyo, Nikaidoh is a legend among his fellow surgeons for pioneering what has come to be known as “the Nikaidoh Procedure.” First performed in 1983, this surgery has gained worldwide acceptance for the treatment of patients with specific congenital heart defects.


See Dr. Nikaidoh share an overview of the procedure he developed:


Reflective and soft-spoken, Nikaidoh is a devout Christian who can often be seen praying with his patients before surgery.

What prompted you to go into medicine?

My father was a physician, an obstetrician. I became a physician probably because of watching my father, and realizing what he could do.

During the Second World War my father had his own little clinic in Japan, which was burned down about four months before the end of the war. My father was drafted at the age of 40-something, and as he was waiting for a ship to take him to Manchuria, the war ended. So, my father came home, but he had nothing. No clinic, no instruments, no medications.

Japan was at the bottom economically. We barely had enough to eat. But people came to see my father because they knew he was a physician, and the only one for miles around. And, in a limited way, he practiced medicine the best he could.

As I watched this, I saw there was a noble purpose in this profession. So, I decided to become a physician. I’m writing a book, and in one of the chapters I talk about that.

Is the book an autobiography?

Not really. This is a totally different kind of book. It is about loss of family members and recovering from that loss.

I have watched many parents lose their children in the hospital, sometimes related, at least chronologically, to a surgery I had performed. It is a painful thing to watch. And as much as I sympathized with them, I really did not know how they felt. But in the summer of 2003 I lost my own son in a tragic way, and he was the only physician among my five children. That was pretty rough. He was 35.

So, I started thinking about these mothers I have seen who have recovered from loss. Everybody’s experience is a little different. I thought this was worthwhile to put into a book.

Does it have a working title?

The working title is “Healing Hearts.” It is written by a heart surgeon, so it has more than one meaning.

One thing that we all have to recognize, but also embrace, is the reality that when you are born, you will someday die. Dying is not a failure or a shame. It is not dirty or something to be embarrassed about. Each life, no matter how short or how long, has its own remarkable value, and it is important for the people either directly involved in the loss or for everybody else. We should look back and see what that means, and once we focus on that, we can come out with a far better future for ourselves. Whoever is left behind can do better. At the end you will come to the realization that it is all God’s grace and plan, and that is where the final conclusion comes.

Spirituality is obviously important to you. Does that make you unique among your medical colleagues?

I became a Christian when I was 48, so I functioned as a surgeon and physician for many years without faith. And my book tells some part of my life as it was. I was a struggling, good man. I wanted to be good. I wanted to do good work. I wanted to be as perfect as I could be. I strived and struggled, and was pretty badly beaten.

We dream that every patient will get better, there won’t be any more complications in surgery, and they will all go home well, with the least amount of pain and the shortest hospitalization. But we can just keep dreaming. I don’t have control.

Did spirituality help move you closer to your medical goals?

I never looked at it that way. I became a believer not because I wanted to be better. Now that I am a Christian, I am a happy sinner. As I became a believer, did I become a better person? No. I am just as sinful, just as inadequate, just as broken. But I no longer blame myself or beat up on myself.

What brought you to pediatrics?

It was a meandering way, and not for any good or altruistic reason. I became a surgeon because I am impatient. I cannot sit and wait for my patient to get better with medicine. I wanted to do something to bring about immediate success.

As I was going through general surgery training, I operated on a 75-year-old with colon cancer. Three months later that patient died from a heart attack, and I was so disappointed. I was tired of trying to cut out diseases, and then the patients die anyway. I changed course to work on people with a longer life expectancy, so I decided to become a pediatric surgeon.

Pediatric surgery in the 1960s was still in its infancy, and a lot of people were fascinated, as I was. Still later I got bored with too much routine, so I was looking for something more exciting, which led me to pediatric heart surgery. So, they were all the wrong reasons. Nothing noble, I’m afraid.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Not just regular joe

Food editor Judy Allen dishes on the best coffee houses in Tulsa.

Center stage

All eyes will be on the Tulsa fashion scene as the community joins in the worldwide Fashion’s Night Out celebration Sept. 6.

Defensive line

Three local defense attorneys share their most meaningful verdicts, what led them to the job and the cases that keep them coming back for more.
Edit Module

Add your comment:
21c

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

January 2019

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Hike the Garden’s 1.5 mile nature trail by the full moon to discover the night sights and sounds of the forest and prairie. Drinks and kits for making s’mores over fire pits will be...

Cost: $10 per person for members; $15 for non-members

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

So You Want to Make a Movie? Learn how to take your movie idea from conception to reality through hands-on guidance. The goal is to create a short digital video to be submitted to a local film...

Cost: $375

Where:
Ahha Tulsa
101 E. Archer St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

FREE Speaking Event “Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance” Scientific theories must do more than merely satisfy the data; they must do so in a way that is (to use a term...

Cost: FREE

Where:
ORU Global Learning Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Shawn Bender
Website »

More information

Theme Imitation Imitation is a form of flattery. Learn how writers mimic themes, voice and tone – with one-on-one mentoring - to create your own unique piece of poetry. Instructor: Clemonce...

Cost: $300

Where:
Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Solo performance. Tulsa songwriter, vocalist, and guitar player originally from the OKC area. Drawing from co-songwriters and countless influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Willow's Family Ales
418 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Animal People: Lecture with Dan Musgrave Thursday, January 24, 9:30 - 10:45 am What does it mean to be an 'Animal person'? For that matter, what does it mean to be a person? Drawing upon his...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

More information

HumanNature: Photography Workshop with Dan Musgrave Thursday, January 24,  2 - 3:30 pm Think of the average American home: climate controlled, pest free, and human centric. Yet, as Jeff Goldblum...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Body/Mind Techniques for Managing Stress.   Trauma, fear, panic attacks, PTSD, diabetes, chronic pain, anxiety and phobias all have components related to emotional or physical...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Hardesty Regional Library
8316 E. 93rd Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

Solo performance. Tulsa songwriter, vocalist, and guitar player originally from the OKC area. Drawing from co-songwriters and countless influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Willow's Family Ales
418 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Golf Oklahoma is bringing back the Oklahoma Golf Expo for 2019. And we’re tremendously excited to have a busy south Tulsa location as our new venue. The Tulsa Golf Expo will be Jan. 25-26...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E 71st St
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Golf Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-280-0787
Contact Name: Chris Swafford
Website »

More information

Friday, January 25, 1 - 2 pm Chimpanzees in the Congo Basin exhibit some of the most complex tool behaviors documented outside of humans.  This talk will share recent discoveries on how young...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

More information

Stand-up comedian Brian Regan brings his tour to our city! Regan has distinguished himself as one of the premier comedians in the country. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and...

Cost: $60.00

Where:
Brady Theater
105 West Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: SoundChronicle
Telephone: 802-255-1826
Contact Name: Emily Carter
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Beginning with an introduction into the origin and characteristics of coffee and ending in the myriad of ways we imbibe our black gold, this course is an aerial view of coffee’s journey from...

Cost: $50

Where:
Topeca Coffee
1229 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: OSU-Tulsa
Website »

More information

The annual Tulsa Eagle Day has been renamed to “Eagle Watch and Raptor Rally.” It will be on Jan. 26, 2019 from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Jenks High School, Building 6. There will be presentations...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jenks High School, Building 6
205 E. B St.
Jenks, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Audubon Society
Website »

More information

The Orbit Initiative, produced by The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust, resumes its FREE community satellite adventures at seven local community centers this Saturday, January 12th, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various
Various
Tulsa, OK  Various
View map »


Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
Telephone: 918-596-7119
Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
Website »

More information

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Golf Oklahoma is bringing back the Oklahoma Golf Expo for 2019. And we’re tremendously excited to have a busy south Tulsa location as our new venue. The Tulsa Golf Expo will be Jan. 25-26...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E 71st St
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Golf Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-280-0787
Contact Name: Chris Swafford
Website »

More information

Pain Management Class Non-medical Treatments for Pain Non-medical treatments may be used to treat chronic pain, along with pain medicines. They might also be used alone for mild pain or...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
View map »


Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

Come and Support ORU Women's Basketball as they jump into another exciting season. Join in on the fun and purchase your tickets today! All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will...

Cost: $7.00

Where:
MABEE CENTER
7777 S LEWIS AVE
TULSA, OK  74171
View map »


Website »

More information

Evergreens are often overlooked and under-appreciated in the landscape, yet in the winter months they provide color, form and texture that their deciduous counterparts can’t provide. Take a...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

We are thrilled to announce The Pencil Box's brand new event, Rock Paper Scissors, to be held at the historic Cain's Ballroom on Saturday, January 26, 2019, and we need you there! This event will...

Cost: $150.00

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 North Main Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 918-442-2222
Contact Name: Nancy Bolzle
Website »

More information

Come see ORU Mens Basketball vs North Dakota State!

Cost: $10-$20

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Sponsor: https://mabeecenter.com/event/californiabaptist1819m/
Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center
Website »

More information

Living Arts of Tulsa is celebrating its 50th anniversary during its signature gala, Champagne & Chocolate. The event features a fashion show and auction and features the work of artist...

Cost: $100

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 E. MB Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Living Arts of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-585-1234
Contact Name: Jessica Borusky
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Giving Guide
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TULtalk


On View: Whitney Forsyth

Large-scale ceramic sculpture “Reveal” is the latest exhibition of “Atrium Art” at First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa.

Comments

How are natural gas pipelines made?

From its 140,000-square-foot property in west Tulsa, Big Elk Energy Systems builds equipment for the transaction and transfer of natural gas.

Comments

Signature Symphony recreates 1979 performance

The Jan. 26 performance will be comprised of pieces by the extended Bach family, including both popular and lesser-known works.

Comments

Amazing Emeka reflects on $100K surprise

The Tulsan was shocked to receive $100,000 live on The Ellen Show.

Comments

Q&A: David Stratton

BOK Financial executive vice president and commercial banking director; 2019 Tulsa Regional Chamber chairman

Comments