Saturday, December 19, 2009
Dr. P. R. Anthonis – surgeon extraordinaire
The cremation of the late Dr. P. R. Anthonis took place last evening at the Kanatte Cemetery, Borella, in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering comprising family, relatives, friends, colleague in the medical fraternity and hundreds of grateful patients.
The eminent surgeon, Deshamanya Dr. P. R. Anthonis, passed away on Thursday, aged 99. Professionally engaged until very recently, he was regarded as the oldest active medical practitioner in South Asia.
Dr. Anthonis was born on January 11, 1911. He studied at St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya, where he proved an outstanding scholar, carrying away almost all the class prizes at the school’s annual prize-giving.
In 1930, he entered the Colombo Medical College, where he continued to shine as a scholar. He topped his batch in almost all subjects, winning the Loos Gold Medal for Pathology, the Mathew Gold Medal for Forensic Medicine, and the Rockwood Gold Medal for Surgery.
On passing out from the Medical College in 1936, Dr. Anthonis took up an appointment as a medical officer in the public service.
In 1945, he proceeded to Britain to continue his medical studies at the Royal College of Surgeons, where he set a record by passing both his primary and final examinations at the first sitting. He was the youngest Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons at the time.
On his return to Sri Lanka, in 1947, Dr. Anthonis resumed his medical career, working at the Colombo General Hospital. A devout Buddhist, Dr Anthonis was a member of the board of governors of the Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA).