In Memoriam: Khalid M.H. Butt, MD, FRCS (Eng), FACS

By ASTS
Published on June 19, 2017

Dr. Butt was a dear friend and colleague of the volunteers at Long island TRIO. We will miss Dr. Butt.  He was also a charter member of he American Society of Transplant Surgeons. Dr. Butt was 77 years old.

Past President Charles M. Miller, MD, said, “Khalid Butt was a tireless champion of Transplantation. He devoted his life to his patients and always sought new and innovative ways to create opportunities for them to receive kidneys. An excellent and creative surgeon, he Directed the Transplant Programs at Downstate Medical Center and subsequently Westchester County Medical Center and was one of the founding members of NYRTP, the original OPO in New York City. “

Dr. Butt was born in Amritsar, India and emigrated to Pakistan in 1947 as a child. After graduating from King Edward Medical College of the Punjab University, he earned a fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in the United Kingdom and traveled to the United States for training in general and cardiothoracic surgery at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. He held certifications in both the American Boards of General and Thoracic Surgery.

In 1972 Dr. Butt went to work with Dr. Samuel Kountz in kidney transplantation and later became Director of Transplantation in 1977. He was the founding president and CEO of the New York Regional Transplant Program, currently named LiveOnNY.

In 1989 he founded the first transplant program in the Hudson Valley region at Westchester Medical Center, where he served as Director of Transplantation and Vascular Surgery, as well as Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery at New York Medical College. In 1999, he joined the New York State Transplant Council and chaired the Organ Donation Advisory Task Force of the Medical Society of the State of New York.

Over the course of his nearly 50-year career, Dr. Butt performed over 4,000 kidney transplants. He received many awards, including the Mayor’s Liberty Award of the City of New York in 1986, the American Association of Kidney Patients’ Physician of the Year Award in 1995, and the National Kidney Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. He was also a member of many national and international professional and academic societies and was published in several professional journals.

He retired in 2011 as the Director of Transplantation and Vascular Surgery at Westchester County Medical Center and the Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery at New York Medical College.

Dr. Butt is survived by his wife, Jamila, and his two daughters, Fauzia and Neelofar. 

Memorial Arrangements
Family, friends, colleagues and loved ones will gather to remember his extraordinary life during calling hours at the Yannantuono Burr Davis Sharpe Funeral Homes on 584 Gramatan Avenue in Mount Vernon on Thursday June 22nd from 4pm-8pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Khalid’s name to the organizations listed below.

Following Jummah prayer on Friday, June 23rd, will be the Salat al-Janazah (the Islamic funeral prayer) at the Westchester Muslim Center at 22 Brookfield Road in Mount Vernon.* There will be a private burial service to follow the prayers, to be held at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. 

Following the burial, a simple reception is planned at 49 Brookwood Drive in Briarcliff Manor. All are welcome, and the family would greatly appreciate your presence, condolences, and memories of their beloved Khalid at the reception.

Also, there will be a Quran Khani on Saturday June 24th at the same mosque in Mt Vernon at 615 pm (between Asr and Mughrib with Iftar to follow).

* For those unfamiliar with Muslim customs, appropriate attire is required at the mosque, including ankle-length clothing, elbow-length or longer sleeves (no bare shoulders or upper arms). Women are required to cover their heads with a scarf. Footwear is not important because you will be removing your shoes before entering the mosque. For more details kindly see: http://imamsofamerica.weebly.com/visiting-a-mosque.html.

Please direct donations in honor of Khalid Butt to your choice of the following organizations:

Transplant Support Organization (TSO)
1335 Mace Ave.
Bronx, NY. 10469
212-222-8386

American Transplant Foundation
600 17th Ave. 
​Denver, Colorado  80202
303-757-0959

Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO) Manhattan
PO Box 53
Lenox Hill Station
New York, NY 10021
347-427-7764

American Society of Transplant Surgeons Foundation
2461 South Clark St., Suite 640
Arlington, VA 22202
703-414-7870

The following is provided by LiveOnNY

Born in Amritsar, India, Dr. Khalid Butt emigrated as a child to Pakistan in 1947 when the British Raj ended. As the eldest of eleven children of a civil servant, he was encouraged to pursue his education and graduated from King Edward Medical College of the Punjab University in 1962.  He traveled to England and was awarded the Hallett prize for achieving the highest score in the examination for earning his fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). In the U.S., Dr. Butt completed his General and Cardiothoracic surgical training at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center and was certified by the American Boards of General and Thoracic Surgery.
 
Although his primary interest was in cardiothoracic surgery, in 1972 Dr. Butt accepted the opportunity to work in the rapidly developing field of kidney transplantation. He subsequently took over the helm as Director of Transplantation in 1977 at SUNY Downstate. The program flourished under Dr. Butt’s guidance and remained among the nation’s top 50 kidney transplant centers for many years, often number one in New York State.  He tirelessly advocated for increasing organ donation from both the living and the deceased. He was the founding President and CEO of the New York Regional Transplant Program (currently known as LiveOnNY), the original organ procurement organization in New York state. Inside the operating room, Dr. Butt applied the same diligence and dedication to improving upon existing surgical techniques for transplantation and vascular access and published extensively on these, and many related topics.
 
In 1989, Dr. Butt left Brooklyn with a core, dedicated group of professionals, to start the first transplant program in the Hudson Valley Region at Westchester Medical Center, where he served as Director of Transplantation and Vascular Surgery. Under his leadership, his team established another successful and extremely busy transplant program.
 
Over the course of his nearly 50-year career, Dr. Butt performed over 4,000 kidney transplants. He was a member of many national and international professional and academic societies and received many honors and awards, including the Upjohn Achievement Award for Outstanding Surgical Research, the Mayor’s Liberty Award for the City of New York, and the Lester Hoeing Award of the National Kidney Foundation of New York/New Jersey as well as the National Kidney Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was always an enthusiastic teacher for students and residents, many of whom are now leaders in their fields. 
 
Dr. Butt retired in 2011 as the Director of Transplantation and Vascular Surgery at Westchester Medical Center and as Professor and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery at New York Medical College. However, he remained steadfast in his commitment to research and education through his work with the Institutional Review Board and the Admissions Committee of New York Medical College. Through the years, Dr. Butt maintained his humility and selflessly dedicated his life to the care of his patients. A beloved teacher and role model, his compassion, and emphasis on the best interest of his patients continues through the work of his many students, which includes his own two daughters, one of whom is a pediatrician, and the other, a transplant surgeon.
 
Beyond his vast professional accomplishments, Khalid is remembered by his family and those who knew him best as a kind and gentle soul, a compassionate and attentive listener, with an unlimited capacity to serve and help anyone he could. Khalid loved and appreciated nature; he marveled at the sound of the ocean, and all the wonders contained within that he enthusiastically discovered while scuba diving. He delighted in taking pictures of flowers and did so regularly while going for walks with his daughters at the New York Botanical Gardens and Rockefeller Estate Park. Khalid had a quick wit and a sly sense of humor; he loved a good joke, although he would often mess up the punch line, and frequently quoted funny commercial jingles to his loved ones. Khalid enjoyed good food and good company, always greeting others with a warm smile, a loving hug, and a comforting presence that filled the room. His passing leaves us with a deep and profound sadness.