Posted by heritagepediatrics On February - 21 - 2013

Neil Nau, MD is remembered as a trailblazing pediatrician, devoted to his patients.  As one of the founding physicians of Heritage Pediatrics, our physicians and staff are grateful for the legacy that he leaves behind.

Click here to read the full article published in the San Antonio Express News on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

Dr. Cornelius Hugo Nau, Sr. was struck by a sister’s death from illness at age 12, and he got into medicine to keep other children and their loved ones from experiencing the same pain, his family said.  “He just felt there was a need and wanted to help mankind,” said John Sugg Nau, one of his four sons.

Cornelius Nau, known to his friends as Neal, became a trailblazing pediatrician who helped thousands of youngsters and their families deal with injuries and ailments over four decades.  “That generation of doctors were like giants walking the earth because they dealt with so much illness,” said Dr. Graham Hall, a pediatrician who took over Dr. Nau’s patients when he retired 21 years ago. “From his patients, I’ve never heard an unkind word. I know he thought it was an honor to take care of them,” Hall said.

Dr. Tom Fitch, a retired pediatrician who began working with Nau’s practice in 1968, said Nau entered the field after penicillin became readily available but before many immunizations were developed for some of the worst diseases.  Fitch called Nau not only an outstanding medical mind but also a compassionate man who put his patients first.  “He was an old-fashioned doctor, and he took care of his patients,” Fitch said.

Nau died Sunday at a San Antonio hospice following treatment for pancreatic cancer. He was 96.  His family said he was born in Yorktown in DeWitt County but moved to San Antonio with his family when he was 5. Nau graduated from Brackenridge High School and St. Mary’s University before teaching for a year at a one-room schoolhouse in Sisterdale. “He recalled that most of the kids came to school on horseback,” John Nau said.

Dr. Nau earned his medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and performed his pediatric residency at hospitals in New York.  His wife of 62 years, Carolyn Sugg Nau, said New York officials tried to convince him to stay, but he declined. “You can’t keep a Texan out of Texas,” she said.  A veteran of both the Army and Air Force, Nau began private practice in San Antonio in 1950. His son said he and another doctor performed the first pediatric blood exchange transfusion in the city and also helped make emergency medical services a more prominent part of the fire department in the late ’60s.  In addition, Nau volunteered at a now-closed health clinic run by Catholic nuns on the West Side and worked with educators to resolve childhood learning disabilities.

John Nau called his father “one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever known,” and a man who loved his family and life.

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