Lives of the fellows

Hettiya Kontehelage Nihal Ian Markus

b.18 May 1935 d.28 April 1986
MB BS Ceylon(1961) MD(1965) MRCPE(1968) MRCP(1969) FRCP(1983)

Nihal Markus was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where his father, Charles Haddow Markus was an accountant. He was educated at St Joseph’s College, Colombo, and what was then the University of Ceylon (Faculty of Medicine). His clinical studies were pursued at the General Hospital, Colombo. After house appointments at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital and the General Hospital, Colombo, he became senior house officer at the latter and also demonstrator in pathology at the University. In 1965 he was appointed resident physician at the General Hospital. He was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship in medicine in 1967 and for the next two years he worked as an honorary registrar in the professorial medical unit of the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, and in the gastroenterology department of the Western General Hospital in the same city.

For the next 12 years, on his return to Sri Lanka, he served as a consultant physician at various Government Hospitals, with a short break between November 1981 and March 1982 when he visited Denmark, Germany and the UK as WHO Fellow in cardiovascular diseases. In 1983 he was appointed to the General Hospital Galle, a teaching hospital.

It was as a teacher that Nihal Markus was most widely acclaimed. He was able to kindle in others his own joy in medicine and fire them with enthusiasm. Lucidity of expression and clarity of thought marked his clinical lectures. He was a fine diagnostician, with a rigorously logical appraisal of clinical evidence.

In his student days he evinced much interest in religious and social activities. Though a devout Christian, he found himself taking part in Buddhist brotherhood activities with equal zest. His actions were reciprocated by some of them when he became the president of the Students’ Christian Movement and invited Buddhists to participate in its activities. His wife, Dr Vineetha Manel Kusumsri, whom he married in 1963, was a Buddhist - their union being witness to the fact that religion is intended to bring people together and not keep them apart. They had three children, two sons and a daughter. He was a devoted husband and a loving father, and his untimely death was a severe blow to the family.

Outside medicine, Nihal Markus’ interests lay in cricket, music and social welfare work. It was in the sphere of personal relationships that he excelled. Everyone with whom he was associated felt him to be a trusted friend.

N Amarasekera
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

(Volume VIII, page 322)

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