Lall Sawh (Date of Birth: 1st June 1951)

Trinidad and Tobago Icons Vol 2

Dr Lall Sawh is a local urologist who has advanced the practice and research of urology throughout the Caribbean. He introduced the concept of “buttonhole” surgery1 to Trinidad and Tobago. In 1988, he became the first doctor in the Caribbean to transplant a kidney from a live donor to a recipient. This was one of many contributions that have earned Dr Sawh international respect and has placed Trinidad and Tobago on the map in the field of urology.

Lall Ramnath Sawh was born on 1st June, 1951 in Couva, Trinidad. His parents were humble shopkeepers. He helped them sell produce at their shop and in the marketplace. Despite his time-consuming domestic responsibilities, Sawh still managed to focus on his schoolwork at Couva Anglican School. His perseverance paid off in 1963, when he secured a place at the prestigious Naparima College and was later named Head Boy at the tender age of 16.

His academic performance at the secondary level earned him a place at the School of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica. He excelled in his studies and was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship in Surgery. He ventured to Scotland in 1977 to train as a surgeon at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. In 1985, he obtained a fellowship to the esteemed Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA.

Returning to serve his homeland, Sawh was one of three urologists on the island. He brought innovation to his practice by learning and introducing many new surgical procedures including “buttonhole” surgery and kidney transplantation. He also performed the first Renal Hypothermic Surgery2 in Trinidad and Tobago in 1981. Dr Sawh also embraced new technologies and in 1996, he introduced the lithotripter3 for kidney stone treatment. This fulfilled his desire to improve kidney stone treatments for patients, since the machine removed kidney stones without surgical incision.

In 1998, Dr Sawh took the initiative to promote the use of Viagra worldwide in the face of many passive practitioners and skeptics. He also tackled the issue of male impotence through the use of surgical techniques never before utilised in the Caribbean. He made history by being the first in the Caribbean to construct a penis for a boy who was born without one.

On the strength of his significant achievements, Dr Sawh has been featured in many publications – Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in the World of Intellects, and Who’s Who in the World of Science and Technology. At the national level, he was bestowed, in 1993, the Chaconia Medal (Gold) for his medical work, making him at age 43, the youngest ever awardee in the country’s history in medicine. As an esteemed surgeon, Sawh currently lectures part-time at UWI and is an examiner of the UWI medical examinations.





  1. A surgical procedure making a small incision of 1 inch diameter to remove kidney stones or to examine the kidney
  2. A bloodless kidney stone removal technique in which the kidney temperature is lowered to help minimize the chance of damage to the kidney
  3. A device that crushes kidney stones and gallstones by using shock waves