Dozens attended visitation services Sunday afternoon for Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Anant Bhati, who died Friday night at University Hospital, a little over a week after he was injured in a fall.
Those attending remembered Bhati.
"If he sees any new-comer coming to Cincinnati as a budding doctor or a resident, he's there to help whether they ask or not," said friend and colleague, Dr. Keder Verma. "He is the best person that I have known in my life, personally."
University Hospital released this statement early Saturday morning:
Dr. Anant R. Bhati, 71, passed away earlier today (Friday, February 17) at University Hospital. Funeral arrangements will be announced once finalized. Dr. Bhati's family appreciates the support of the community and asks for continued respect of their privacy at this time.
The coroner's death comes just 15 months after he took office. He fell at a medical meeting at a Downtown hotel last week, and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he first reported in critical condition. He was transferred to University Hospital.
Dr. Bhati was the director of the Division of Gynecology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati since 1980 and was an endoscopic gynecological surgeon. For more than 40 years, he instructed and supervised medical students and residents at Good Samaritan Hospital.
He was fondly remembered by those who knew him, including Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune.
"He was a very good coroner, extremely competent, the consummate professional," said Portune.
"Anytime any of us had surgery he was talking to our doctors, coming to see us at the hospital not matter what it was related to. He was a great man," said Joyce Nolan, one of Bhati's patients.
Portune says Dr. Bhati's work as a medical professional was unsurpassed, but he was also a good person to know.
Bhati was a volunteer professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and served nine years as a university trustee.
"I knew him and got to know him on the University of Cincinnati board of trustees. We served together there and became friends. He was a good man. He was a very generous man and he'll be greatly missed by this community," said Mike Allen.
County Commission Chair Greg Hartman says Dr. Bhati's death is a loss the Cincinnati medical community.
"He was a giant in the medical community and everyone knew him. You could never get anyone to say a bad thing about Dr. Bhati...it will be a tremendous loss to all of us," said Hartmann.
County Democratic party chair Tim Burke says Dr. Bhati's shoes will be hard to fill.
"He served on the Ohio medical board overseeing all the doctors in the state of Ohio. Truly a remarkable individual, we really lost somebody special," said Burke.
Portune says a temporary coroner will probably be named soon.
"The board of county commissioners can appoint an acting county coroner to fill in. We likely are going to have to do that because first and foremost the coroner signs death certificates and there's a need for that on a daily basis," said Portune.
The democratic central committee will appoint someone to fill Dr. Bhati's unexpired term and also put someone on the ballot since Dr. Bhati had planned to run for election.
He also has traveled around the world at his own expense, teaching his innovative techniques to doctors serving impoverished communities.
Dr. Bhati served on UC's Board of Trustees from 2000-09. He was a member of the State Medical Board of Ohio from 1995-2005 and served as the board's president in 2001.
Born in Jodhpur Rajasthan, India, Dr. Bhati earned his medical degree from SMS Medical College, Jaipur, India. He gained U.S. citizenship in 1981.
Dr. Bhati was appointed Coroner by the Hamilton County Democratic Party after Dr. O'Dell Owens left that post to become President of Cincinnati State.