Lives of the fellows

Mudalige Pramod Viswabandu Ranatunga

b.3 February 1960 d.11 September 2005
MB BS Peradeniya(1985) MD Colombo(1990) MRCP(1992) FCCP(2002) FRCP(2004)

Pramod Ranatunga was a much-loved cardiologist at the Institute of Cardiology, Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was born in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka, the son of Bandula Sarath Ranatunga, a school principal, and Halke Vidanelage Dona Premawathi Ranatunga, a schoolteacher. He was educated at Nalanda College, a Buddhist public school in Colombo, and went on to the University of Peradeniya, where he studied medicine, gaining distinctions in paediatrics and community medicine. His teaching hospitals were in Kandy and Peradeniya. He held house officer, senior house officer, registrar and senior registrar posts at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. He then went to the UK, where he was a senior house officer at Maidstone Hospital, before postgraduate training in paediatric and adult cardiology in Leicester.

On returning to Sri Lanka, he was a senior registrar and later a consultant at the Institute of Cardiology at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka. While fame came low on the list of his priorities, he achieved a series of ‘firsts’ in Sri Lanka: he was the first to perform a percutaneous transluminal coronary angiolopasty (PTCA), to deploy a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) coil and to perform an alcohol septal ablation for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM) patients.

In 2002 he became a fellow of the Ceylon College of Physicians and in 2004 a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

He married Pulukkuttiralalage Kumuduni Chandramala, a consultant anaesthetist at Colombo National Hospital and a fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists in the UK, in 1989. They had one child.

At the age of 45 he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour, which may have been caused by radiation leakage from the poorly managed X-ray machines he used to help diagnose his patients. He had surgery in Singapore, and returned to the cardiology unit to treat patients for another six months. He was stoical about his condition, and many of his friends were impressed by his bravery and his desire to carry on treating his patients. He remained modest until the end, always putting service before self.

After his death his family, friends and patients set up the Pramod Ranatunga Trust Fund, to continue carrying out his vision of helping the needy. In 2007 the Trust organised a health camp in a remote Sri Lankan area to treat those who do not have access to specialist health care. The Trust Fund has also awarded three scholarships to medical undergraduates at the University of Ruhuna.

RCP editor

[The Sunday Times 13 May 2007 (www.sundaytimes.lk); The Sunday Observer 27 May 2007 (www.sundayobserver.lk)]

(Volume XII, page web)

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