Lives of the fellows

Bomullege Dillipkumara Dharmasena

b.21 June 1926 d[?]1991
MB BS Ceylon(1951) MD(1956) MRCPE(1960) MRCP(1962) FRCP(1982)

Bomullege Dillipkumara Dharmasena, known as ‘Dharme’ to his friends, was born in Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, where his father Bomullege Don Charles Appuhamy was a business man. ‘Dharme’ received his secondary education at Sri Dharmalokha Vidyalaya Kelaniya and entered the University of Ceylon, Colombo, to read medicine. He had an outstanding academic career from the beginning of his medical studies, being awarded the Rustomjee Jeejeebhoy scholarship in 1946 and graduating with distinctions in medicine and surgery; winning the gold medal for medicine. He obtained his MD in 1956 and then came to the UK where he gained his membership of the Royal Colleges of Edinburgh and London. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1982.

After obtaining his postgraduate qualifications, ‘Dharme’ held a number of responsible posts in the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. In 1956 he was appointed assistant physician to the outpatients department at the General Hospital, Colombo, and in 1960 he became visiting physician to the Fever Hospital, Colombo. Subsequently, he worked for short periods as resident physician and acting consultant physician to the General Hospital, Colombo, and then as consultant physician to the General Hospital, Ratnapura.

In 1963, ‘Dharme’ was appointed consultant physician to the General Hospital, Kandy, which in that same year became the second largest teaching hospital in Sri Lanka. It was here that ‘Dharme’ made his mark as a physician of national repute, so that his name became known not only in Kandy but in the whole Central Province of Sri Lanka. He made an outstanding contribution to healing the sick, to improving the standards of health care, and to the development of medical education in the new medical school which had been established in Peradeniya in 1961.

In 1981, ‘Dharme’ retired from his position as consultant physician at Kandy when he was appointed professor of medicine and head of the department of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, and consultant physician to the teaching hospital there. The appointment was a fitting tribute to him, recognizing his ability in his chosen field. As professor of medicine he contributed greatly to improving the academic quality of the department. He was a teacher par excellence and an examiner at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He was later appointed to the board of study and the board of management at the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, Sri Lanka.

He married Nalini Vimaladevi, daughter of a retired surgeon, Percy Richard Thambugalia, and they had four children - two sons and two daughters. One daughter is a doctor, and married a doctor.

‘Dharme’ was a quiet man, soft spoken and somewhat shy, with an unassuming manner. He was a superb physician, with a profound compassion which was based on a deep religious conviction.

R G Panabokke

(Volume IX, page 129)

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