Doc­tor re­tir­ing af­ter decades of car­ry­ing on fam­ily’s legacy

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By JES­SICA IAN­NETTA jian­netta@ches­

In 1847, a Mas­sachusetts mis­sion­ary and med­i­cal doc­tor named Sa­muel Fisk Green ar­rived in what is now called Sri Lanka (then Cey­lon) and would go on to found the coun­try’s first med­i­cal school.

Fast-for­ward 171 years, and Green’s legacy is still be­ing felt thou­sands of miles away in Ne­wark, where Dr. Sath Amara has prac­ticed medicine for more than 40 years, car­ry­ing on a fam­ily legacy that be­gan when Amara’s grand­fa­ther, Vel­layutham Amaras­ing­ham, at­tended Green’s med­i­cal school more than a cen­tury ago.

Amara, 79, — whose full last name is Amaras­ing­ham — has op­er­ated an in­ter­nal medicine prac­tice in Kel­way Plaza on Main Street since 1977 and will re­tire at the end of this month af­ter a life­time in medicine. Dr. Reynold Agard, who’s lo­cated next door, will take over Amara’s prac­tice.

For Amara, there was never any doubt he would go into medicine.

“It was a fam­ily tra­di­tion. My grand­fa­ther had three sons be­come doc­tors, and then in the grand­chil­dren there are nine doc­tors,” he said.

Af­ter at­tend­ing med­i­cal school in Sri Lanka, Amara came to the United States in 1970 and did his res­i­dency in Buf­falo, N.Y. From there, the choice to set­tle in Delaware was an easy one, he said.

“I did my res­i­dency in Buf­falo, New York, and then de­cided to come to Delaware be­cause it’s a lit­tle warmer than Buf­falo,” Amara said with a laugh.

As he pre­pares to re­tire, Amaras­ing­ham said he will miss his pa­tients most, as he has got­ten to know some of them quite well over the decades. In some cases, Amara has treated three gen­er­a­tions of fam­ily mem­bers.

“It’s an easy way of com­ing out and meet­ing peo­ple and get­ting to know them,” he said. “I don’t know that there’s any other pro­fes­sion that gives you that op­por­tu­nity to come to know peo­ple and their lives and their thoughts and their emo­tions and, of course, their body ill­nesses.”

Though he has no im­me­di­ate plans af­ter re­tire­ment, Amara, who lives in Ne­wark, said he plans to de­vote much of his time to two of his fa­vorite hob­bies: read­ing and music.

As for Green, he died in 1884 at age 61 in his na­tive Mas­sachusetts, though his legacy in Sri Lanka lives on. The hospi­tal he founded still ex­ists to­day as Green Memo­rial Hospi­tal and dur­ing his ca­reer, Green trans­lated more than 4,000 pages of med­i­cal lit­er­a­ture from English to Tamil as part of an ef­fort to train doc­tors in their na­tive lan­guage. On the 150th an­niver­sary of the med­i­cal school’s found­ing in 1998, Sri Lanka even is­sued a stamp hon­or­ing Green’s con­tri­bu­tions.

But for Amara, Green’s legacy is much more per­sonal. On the wall of his of­fice is a trea­sured picture from 1912 show­ing Amara’s grand­fa­ther, fa­ther and other fam­ily mem­bers stand­ing to­gether in Sri Lanka – a vis­ual re­minder of the legacy Amara car­ries on at his prac­tice ev­ery­day.

“It’s some­thing re­ally no­table that a man went from here, taught some­body in Sri Lanka and how that stu­dent’s chil­dren be­came doc­tors and went out to dif­fer­ent parts of the world,” he said.


Dr. Sath Amara poses with a 1912 photo show­ing his grand­fa­ther, fa­ther and other fam­ily mem­bers. Amara’s grand­fa­ther and fa­ther were both doc­tors and Amara will re­tire at the end of April af­ter more than 40 years in Ne­wark.

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