21st June 2022 23:14:01 Hours
Dr Gamini Goonetilleke, one of the most renowned Senior Consultant Surgeons in Sri Lanka who has made a name for himself in the annals of medical surgery called at the Army HQ today (21) and presented the maiden copy of his book, 'Extra Mile-A Surgeon's Experiences' which narrates his career spanning more than 40 years as a surgeon in good olden days to Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Army.
During this cordial meeting, the surgeon cum author explained the background and settings that inspired him to profile his memorable experiences in the field of medicine with the objective of sharing his experiences with the budding breed of medical professionals and providing them with insights into different practices that were conducted under trying circumstances and without facilities or equipment, necessary for conduct of his professional obligations that began from Polonnaruwa District Hospital.
The Army Chief while thanking him for the gesture spoke high of his commitment to the duties for decades as a reputed surgeon among both medical community and the general public as he was instrumental in saving thousands of lives of innocent patients while serving in many remote areas in the country. He was 32 years old when he after qualifying as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) and a post graduate training in the UK returned to the country to take over a short spell as the Resident Surgeon of the Accident Service of the General Hospital Colombo before he was offered the post of Consultant Surgeon at the Base Hospital, Polonnaruwa.In 1973, he received his MBBS (Ceylon) from the University of Colombo and proceeded to the UK in 1978 to qualify as a Surgeon.
During the war for peace, he compounded surgical admissions with thousands of civilians and military personnel suffering from missile and blast injuries, being brought into this Polonnaruwa hospital from the conflict zone in the East of the country and villages bordering the conflict zone. This was a new experience for him. Working with commitment, he rapidly improved the surgical services at this hospital, establishing a special ward for military casualties and also an Intensive Care Unit. In addition to his work in the hospital, he voluntarily and regularly served in the war-torn areas and on many occasions at the Palaly Base Hospital in Jaffna. When others were reluctant to go into war-torn areas, he was fearless. He even travelled to war-torn Jaffna, which was under terrorist siege. That opened another window to his already illustrious profession as an innovative and multi-faceted general surgeon, ever willing to go the extra-mile.
An old boy of St Joseph’s College, Colombo, he excelled in studies as well as sports and was the proud recipient of the prestigious Award of Excellence, granted by his Alma Mater for distinguished service to the country in the Field of Medicine. He is not only an academic and a surgeon, but also has been a keen sportsman.
At the end of the cordial meeting, the Army Chief presented a memento to Dr Gamini Goonetilleke.