surgical unit of the Peradeniya Medical Faculty began in 1963 in the
surgical wards of General Hospital Kandy. Professor Fonseka was the first
head. After a brief period the unit was taken over by Professor H.S.
Keerthisinghe who was a dedicated and an innovative teacher. Early 1970's
were turbulent times in the country and it is a tribute to the unit that it remained well organised
with a sustained academic program. Research activities too reached a
zenith with Dr. H.L. Eaton, Dr. C. Barrkumarakulasinghe and Dr. A.P.R.
Aluwihare joining the unit.
The latter two in went on to hold the chair of
surgery in the late 1970 - and '80. Professor A.P.R. Aluwihare retired in
2004. Since then Professor P.C.A. Ratnatunga holds the chair in surgery.
surgery was the first area of special interest developed by the unit
especially as Professor Aluwihare took a keen interest. Increasing
interest in paediatric colorectal work led to paediatric surgery becoming
also a special interest. Professor Aluwihare was awarded a Hunterian
professorship based in his paediatric colorectal work.
Together with the
oesophageal work done by all members of staff, gastroenterology became an
area of focused interest.
Dr. P.C.A. Ratnatunga joined the unit in the
very late 1970's and vascular surgery also took off. The quality of care
attention offered to general surgical work loads, student teaching
programmes and the research interests gradually came to establish a
reputation for the unit in the surgical fraternity of Sri Lanka.
In 1982 the
surgical unit shifted to the new teaching hospital at Peradeniya where it
is housed to date.