Mr. Rudra Rasaretnam –an eminent cardio-thoracic surgeon passed away after a brief illness at the age of 86 years in September 2017. He was the last in the long line of famous of surgeons who dominated the surgical scene from the 1940s to the 1960s .
His grandfather Mr.S.C.Paul FRCS who was a senior surgeon in the Colombo General Hospital and the first Sri Lankan to obtain the fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England was followed by his maternal uncles Professor Milroy Paul the first Professor of Surgery in the Colombo Medical School and Professor Milroy’s brother Mr ATS Paul who initiated the practice of cardio thoracic surgery in Colombo and later in Jaffna.
Rudy, as he was affectionately called, was involved in the commencement of the clinical departments medical school in Peradeniya in 1964. He with the late Professor H.S.Kirthisinghe started the teaching department of surgery in Peradeniya. While working in the General Hospital in Kandy in the 1960s he was one of the initiators of the Kandy Society of Medicine which is now only second to the Colombo based Sri Lanka Medical Association, in promoting academic activities and medical research in Sri Lanka.
Rudy always called himself as Mister as is the practice with surgeons in the United Kingdom where he had his medical education. He qualified from the Kings College Hospital medical school, where he excelled both in academia and in sports. He captained the Kings College Hospital cricket team in which another eminent surgeon of the United Kingdom , Mr. Hedley Berry played under him.
As a teacher of medical students in Peradeniya he will be remembered by his students for his brilliant clinical demonstrations of patients in the surgical wards of the Kandy Hospital and his amusingly eccentric ways when dealing with patients but always conscious of providing the best health care.
He was an anglophile both in his daily living and in the way he cared for his patients. Being of a very independent spirit he never married and remained a bachelor all his life
Dr. T . Varagunam
Former Professor of Medicine
Peradeniya Medical School