Sreedhar Nair, MD

Dr. Sreedhar Nair, a long-time resident of Norwalk, Conn. and Longboat Key, Fla., died on March 3, 2014 after bravely suffering from a long battle with heart disease.

For over 24 years, he served as head of the Section of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care at Norwalk Hospital and for many years as clinical professor of medicine at Yale University, where he was responsible for establishment of the Boehringer Ingelheim Chair in Medicine.

He was born in 1928 in Trivandrum, India, and received his medical degree at the age of 22 from the University of Madras, in India. Uncommon at the time, he came to the United States in 1951 for his medical residency and fellowship training at New York Medical College, Metropolitan Hospital. After completing his training, he served as an Eli Lilly Research Fellow and was a co-discoverer of Cycloserine, an anti-tuberculosis drug, which is still used today for drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Dr. Nair was one of the first physicians who was board certified in pulmonary medicine and in 1958 he came to practice in Norwalk. During his career Dr. Nair helped advance pulmonary and critical care medicine on a national and an international level. He established the Norwalk Medical Group with four other physicians in 1962. He was well known as an astute and respected diagnostician. His deep spirituality and philosophical nature added a special dimension to his relationships with family, friends and all who knew him.

He led the development of Norwalk Hospital’s Critical Care Unit and was responsible for the creation of several of its modern facilities, including the Hyperbaric Center, Hinds Pulmonary Function Lab, Sleep Center, and Hinds Research Center. He also created the hospital’s Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship programs, and one of the nation’s first schools of respiratory therapy, which is affiliated with the Norwalk Community College.

In the early 1970s, when emphysema was a disease not well known to the public, nor was there any national program to combat it, Dr. Nair founded the National Emphysema Foundation in 1971 and served as its president until now. Under his leadership, the foundation has played a key role in increasing public awareness of the disease by supporting educational, advocacy and research initiatives, and, through these efforts, in improving the quality of life for patients with emphysema and their caregivers.

Dr. Nair was a pioneer and innovator in the practice of pulmonary and critical care medicine, and implemented improved technologies before they became common practice nationally. Dr. Nair organized and served on many national and international panels related to pulmonary medicine and health policy. He was a founding member and past chairman of the International Society for Computers in Critical Care and Pulmonary Medicine and a consultant to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Nair was the recipient of many awards, including the Humanitarian Award of the American Lung Association, the William Tracey Award of Norwalk Hospital, and the World Lung Health Award of the American Thoracic Society. He was the editor of five books and published over 70 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals.

He was the son of the late Dr. and Mrs. M.K. Gopala Pillai of Trivandrum. He leaves a loving family including his wife of 59 years, Dr. Rhoda Nair, three children Dr. Laurence Nair of Hamden, Ronald A. Nair, Esq. of Wilton, Karyn Bhak of Manhattan, five grandchildren including Hari Nair of Wilton, a brother, Dr. Kesav Nair of Wilton, a brother-in-law, Mel Senator of Norwalk, sisters-in-law, Dr. Saras Nair of Wilton and Rochelle Senator, a daughter-in-law Sarita Reddy of Wilton, a son-in-law Andrew Bhak, and as well as two sisters and a brother in India and devoted nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to The National Emphysema Foundation, 128 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851 or to the Norwalk Hospital Foundation. Please visit palmsrobartsfuneralhome.com to leave condolences. A memorial service will be held at the Norwalk Inn and Conference center, East Avenue, Norwalk on Sunday, April 27 at 1 p.m.