Obituary - Dr Maithrie Mahimennatha Rajapakse

Dr. Maithrie Mahimennatha Rajapakse MB BS FFARCS FFARCSr


Dr Maithrie Rajapakse had his primary and secondary education at Dharmaraja College and St Sylvester’s College Kandy, Sri Lanka. He obtained MB,BS degree in 1969 from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. After working for a period as University Medical Officer, he began training in Anaesthesia and was successful at the Primary FFARCS examination held in Colombo in 1975. Proceeding to the U.K. he trained at Whittington Hospital, London and obtained the Fellowship of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of both the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and of England in 1978.

Returning to Sri Lanka, he worked as Consultant Anaesthetist, General Hospital Anuradhapura (1979-1982), Teaching Hospital Galle (1982-1991) and Teaching Hospital, Kandy from 1991 until his retirement in 2002. At the Galle hospital he was instrumental in setting up the hospital’s first Intensive Care Unit. In addition to his clinical commitments, Maithrie played a very active role in academic activities in all the hospitals he worked in. He was the President of the College of Anaesthesiologists of Sri Lanka 1994-95.

The first Scientific Session of the College to be held outside Colombo was held in Kandy during his Presidency and included the inaugural College of Anaesthesiologists Oration.

Maithrie held office as the President of the Clinical Society at Galle and President of the Kandy Society of Medicine (KSM) and delivered the Millenium Oration in 2000. He played a very active role in the Peradeniya Medical School Alumni Association, served as its President and delivered the keynote address at the International Congress held in 1994.

He had interests outside medicine. Having had a renal transplant himself, he played a very active role in the Kandy Kidney Protection Society. He was a member of the National Institute for Paraplegics. A devout Buddhist, Maithrie was the Founder President and the live wire of the Kandy Buddhist Doctors Association which did a lot of work for the upliftment of the living, health and educational standards of people in remote areas. Silently he used his personal funds for some of this work.

There was another side to his life. He was an accomplished singer of traditional Sinhala songs which on formal occasions he performed wearing national dress. He also wrote the script, directed and acted in the annual comedy item of the KSM get-together. Wildlife was another of his interests.

Maithrie was a good and honest person. He passed away after a brief illness on the 9th February 2023 leaving behind his wife Shanthi, a Consultant Paediatrician and a son and daughter. May the good deeds he performed make his journey through samsara short.

Jayantha Jayasuriya FRCA

Past President, College of Anaesthesiologists & Intensivists of Sri Lanka.