A PI­OUS GENTLEMAN AND GREAT ANAES­THETIST

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FEATURES -

My wife and I started wor­ship­ping at Christ Church, Galkissa in 1975,a few years af­ter mar­riage, when we came to live in De­hi­wala. We at­tended the 6.00 a.m. service on Sun­day and Dr. This­tle, Mrs. Jayawar­dene and the chil­dren were there ev­ery Sun­day at the first service for the day -- I don’t think this fam­ily ever missed a Sun­day service. I be­lieve I am cor­rect when I say even dur­ing the last few years when he lived by him­self, he never failed to come for his Sun­day morn­ing wor­ship in spite of phys­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties. It was dur­ing the last few weeks when he was not too well that we missed him in church. A man of very gen­tle dis­po­si­tion, al­ways with a smile and a greet­ing to ev­ery­one, even a stranger, I re­mem­ber him as a gen­tle gi­ant, al­ways im­mac­u­lately at­tired in white.

We all knew he was a lead­ing med­i­cal pro­fes­sional, a highly-qual­i­fied anaes­thetist who later be­came the Pres­i­dent of the Col­lege of Anaes­thetists. But we, non-med­i­cal per­sons, never knew of his great achieve­ments in the pro­fes­sional arena as he kept them to him­self. It was only when we read in the news­pa­pers last year about arrangemen­ts be­ing made to mark the 50th an­niver­sary of the very first in­ten­sive care unit in Sri Lanka at the Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal that we learnt Dr. This­tle was the man behind it!

Ev­i­dently, when Sri Lanka was get­ting ready to per­form open heart surgery and sim­i­lar ma­jor op­er­a­tions for the first time, Dr. This­tle had taken up the po­si­tion that this could be suc­cess­fully done only if ICU fa­cil­i­ties were available and he gave lead­er­ship to es­tab­lish the first such unit.

We no­ticed his gen­tle­ness and kind­ness in our church com­mu­nity; and many friends in the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion have told me what a gen­tle guru he was. A beloved sir who taught them ev­ery­thing, ev­ery­thing he knew, to make them good pro­fes­sion­als.

It was some years later that I served on the Board of War­dens of Christ Church, Galkissa to­gether with Dr. This­tle. In­deed, I counted it a per­sonal honour and a priv­i­lege to have served as a war­den with him. I re­mem­ber him as a man of few words, but when­ever he spoke we all lis­tened and acted in terms of his ad­vice.

In ad­di­tion to his service and con­tri­bu­tion in the med­i­cal field and in this parish, he served for many years as a mem­ber of the Board of Gover­nors of S. Thomas’ Col­lege, his old school.

I was also priv­i­leged to serve with him for many years on the Board of Trustees of Cey­lon Schools for the Deaf and Blind which man­age the two schools in Rat­malana and Kaithadi, Jaffna.

Dr. This­tle in ad­di­tion to his pro­fes­sional work found the time to be Chair­man of the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of the Board of Trustees. The dayto-day busi­ness of run­ning the schools is done by this com­mit­tee which meets once a month.

All of us who served this com­mit­tee found it to be an en­thralling ex­pe­ri­ence. Run­ning th­ese schools was not easy and here was a chair­man who never got an­gry and got the best out of all those who served th­ese spe­cial schools, both pro­fes­sion­als and vol­un­teers. Again, it was a learning ex­pe­ri­ence to us all.

Dur­ing our life­time, we must count it an honour, priv­i­lege and bless­ing to meet, as­so­ciate and work with per­sons of the cal­i­bre of Dr. This­tle. May his soul rest in peace! EKSITH FER­NANDO, DE­HI­WALA

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