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Emeritus Professor Dayasiri Fernando

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Emeritus Professor Dayasiri Fernando : He set an example in the profession
The late Emeritus Prof Dayasiri Fernando was the founder Professor of Surgery at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Prior to this he had been serving the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Colombo for over 25 years as the Professor of Surgery too. His contribution as the Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences (2002 January - 2004 June) and uplifting the standard of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Sri Jayewardenepura University to be one of the most prestigious Medical Faculties in the country is immense. He was acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura on several occasions and during critical periods.
He was responsible in setting up the Professorial Unit of Surgery at the Colombo South Teaching Hospital in 1995. This Professorial Unit was developed to be one of the best surgical units in the country within a short period, mainly due to the tremendous effort, wise decisions and dedication of Prof. Fernando, with regard to the infrastructure as well as human resource development of the unit.
His services went beyond the limits of the university circle. He was a great surgeon, the most sought after, gastro-enterologist in the country. His kindness and great human qualities made him popular among all those whom he came across. His attitude towards the quality of a surgeon can be explained with some quotes he made.
Patients need a surgeon with good communication skills. They prefer a surgeon who could interact sincerely taking time to discuss the problem. Not someone who would just clear the crowd in a hurry, because of the number of patients he has to see within a short period of time in his practice", Prof. Fernando said, while talking on Communication skills of a surgeon" at Dr. M. Ganesharatnam's induction, as the President of the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka, where he was the chief guest.
Should we not infuse into these young minds that the surgeon is no longer the key player in a one-man show, but a leader of a team giving direction to every segment of his team. Should we not teach them to be professionals? Should we not teach them to be sensitive to the needs of the patient? Should we not teach them values and attitudes? Should we not do this with our lives as example and being role models? The common answer to all this is a definite -Yes-. A lack of these values in the lives of some present-day professionals has led to criticism by the public"?. These words depict the legend he was.
He was an internationally reputed academic in his field and was an examiner at the Royal College of Surgeons examinations, held annually in Sri Lanka. In 1998, he served as the President of the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka.
According to his school friends, his superior knowledge in Latin astounded even his teachers! He was famous for his participation in Drama and Literary Society activities, at St. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia.
His brilliant performance as "Portia" in the "Merchant of Venice", brought him great fame in drama and theatre- during his time. Those episodes staged at the St. Thomas College Hall with his performances had attracted crowds who carry memories of him even today.
He also played a role in a short drama "Jeewithe Kumakda" with his colleagues in "Talents 2001", the annual cultural show of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. His love for art and drama was remarkable
He passed away on November 28, 2015 after a brief illness. Prof. Fernando's demise is a loss that may not be easily replaced. He introduced the subspecialty of Gastroenterology and trained many to be efficient surgeons to serve the people of Sri Lanka. Following his retirement from the University, he was made Emeritus Professor of Surgery taking in to account the immense contribution made by him towards the profession at many levels.
He was Chairman of the Public Services Commission, which is the highest body in the public service. Further, Prof. Fernando was the family surgeon , former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Chandrika Bandaranaike. He moved in the highest political circles of Sri Lanka.
He was a gentleman to his finger tiips, and remained a devout Christian. He was also a kind and compassionate doctor who set an example in the profession. He was a much adored teacher, a skilled surgeon and most of all a great human being.
May he rest in eternal peace!
-Prof. Sampath Amaratunge
Vice Chancellor, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
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Extracts from the Warden's PRIZE GIVING SPEECH delivered on the 7th of July 2006
The Chief Guest for this year's prize giving was Professor Dayasiri Fernando. Professor Fernando having started at St. Sebastian's in Moratuwa, had his entire secondary education at S.Thomas' College Mt Lavinia. He had an excellent record in studies and extra-curricular activities. He was a School Prefect and House Captain and was a leading light of the Drama Society. He won the Illangakoon Oratory Prize in 1957 and 1958.
He entered the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ceylon in 1960, passing out with an MBBS with Honours in 1965. In the finals of the MBBS he was awarded the prestigious Garvin Gold Medal for Operative Surgery. Subsequent to graduation he obtained a postgraduate qualification from the University of London, and then awarded Fellowship by the Royal College of Surgeons of England and then by Edinburgh. His achievements as a Medical Practitioner in Surgery and in the academic area of Medicine are unparalleled.
Till recently Professor Fernando was the Dean and the Founder Professor of Surgery of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Jayewardenepura. He is also the Honorary Consultant, in charge of the
Professional Surgical Unit of the Teaching Hospital in Colombo. He has been the personal physician to past Presidents and Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka. He is a pioneer in the speciality of gastroenterology and digestive
He is also a Member of the Board of Governors of S.Thomas' College.
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