Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
Pioneer Interventional Radiologist in Sri Lanka
It is now one year since the passing away of pioneer radiologist Dr N Abeygunawardena.
Dr Abeygunawardena joined the Department of radiology of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka in early 1990s. He was able to win the hearts of all staffers who remember him as dark pleasant gentleman with a friendly smile.
By this time the field of interventional radiology was beginning to creep up as a branch of Radiology. And he himself took the challenge of establishing it initially at the National Hospital.
As there was no organised training programme for interventional Radiology in the country, then, he made contacts with experts in the field to learn from foreign colleagues. Therefore he was able to commence both basic and advanced interventional radiological procedures starting from the grassroots level. Therefore he is regarded with respect as the father of interventional radiology in Sri Lanka.
With his keen interest and untiring efforts he was able to procure a stateof–the-art digital angiography machine to the main radiology department NHSL. This tremendously boosted the interventional radiology capabilities of his unit. With this new tool he was able to perform Neurological and head and neck interventions.
He was a great teacher and mentor to his juniors and the present leading interventional radiologists in the country are his erstwhile trainees. He was really proud to see his trainees become skillful interventionalists in various hospitals in the country. Through his strenuous efforts many interventional radiology centres were established all over the country.
Dr Abeygunawardene was born as the second child in a middle class family in Tangalle in 1959. His father was an administrative officer and Government Agent. A young Abeygunawardene had his primary education at a local school and later joined Ananda College to complete his GCE Advanced Level Examination. He qualified to enter the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo.
Afterwards he enrolled for the Post Graduate in-service programme in radiology of the Post Graduate Medical Institute.
After successful completion of the final MD radiology examination , he underwent overseas training.
On his return he was appointed as consultant radiologist at the Teaching Hospital in Karapitiya. He is credited with developing infrastructure at Karapitiya and did yeoman service to patients. He frequently used to say that those were his memorable days where he was able to improve radiology in the southern part of the country.
Later he got a transfer to Castle Street Hospital.
He was appointed as the head of the department of radiology at the national Hospital; which is the largest such unit in this country. Later he also functioned as the secretary and finally as chairman of the board of study radiology.
His farewell ceremony was attended by a large number of radiologists from all over the country which was in fact a testimony for his illustrious career.
He mostly spent his retirement leading a time spent on religious engagements and attending to patients occasionally.
May he attain the supreme bliss of nibbana.